Something of a shocker in D.C. tonight as Supreme Court Justice David Souter prepares to announce his resignation. At 69, he's nowhere near the typical retirement age for the Supremes -- but he's also a sane person who hates living in Washington. Bully for him. Souter was like that movie character who shows up an enigma (thank you, George H.W. Bush) but turns out to be a pretty good guy by the final reel. It's ironic this happens the same week that Specter switches parties -- talk about the end of the road for moderate Northeastern GOPers!
For Obama, it's a chance to try on some cosmetics. What do I mean by that? He's going to replace a Republican dude who turned out to be a liberal with a Democratic female who we'll know is a liberal. So the court will look different, but in terms of the law, nothing changes. Ironically, Obama could leave a huge stamp on the court, with two or three appointments in just the current term, without changing the ideology of the Supremes at all, because it's the liberal wing with more age and health issues.
Of course, you know who would make a great appointment to the High Court, in terms of legal training (if not courtroom experience), judicial temperment, and age? Barack Obama. Maybe in January 2017, when he's nearly 56 and figuring out what to do with the rest of his life.