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.
UPDATE: Ding ding ding, we have an early frontrunner, and that would be federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor, straight outta the Bronx:
After growing up in a Bronx housing project, Sotomayor has risen to become a judge on one of the most powerful courts in the land: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. As a Hispanic woman, Sotomayor would make an attractive candidate if Obama is looking to diversify the court. There has never been a Hispanic on the Supreme Court, and there is only one woman currently on the bench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Sotomayor might also have bipartisan appeal. She is politically moderate, and President George H.W. Bush appointed her to her first judgeship.
Female, Latina, moderate...how could he not pick her?
Actually, I'd like to see Obama select I Want Revenge, because a) America really should have a judge with that name and b) there has never been a non-human named to the High Court before, at least to the best of my recollection.