WHO WILL OBAMA APPOINT TO REPLACE JUSTICE STEVENS?

The speculation on who will replace Justice John Paul Stevens was going on long before he sent his resignation letter to President Obama Friday. In fact, the topic of Obama’s second high court nomination came up during the battle over his first.

"It wouldn't at all surprise me if some of the very same people were back in the Oval Office,” White House Chief of Staff David Axelrod said when asked about the next Supreme Court nomination while Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination was still pending before the Senate.

Those same people would include federal appellate court judge Diane Wood, Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. In recent months most attention has been focused on Wood and Kagan.

Wood is well known in legal circles for her strong opinions on the Chicago-based Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. She was also part of the faculty at Chicago Law School when Obama taught Constitutional law. She is also very familiar to Stevens who is responsible for overseeing the Seventh Circuit and is a Chicago native. Though that connection would unlikely be a decisive factor into her selection.

Kagan is the former dean of the Harvard Law School and is well-regarded for her performance there in controlling a fractious faculty and reaching out to conservatives. She has already successfully navigated through the Senate Confirmation process to become Solicitor General. Kagan is also something of an unknown entity because she has never been a judge and as a result has a thin paper trail of past positions.

Of course, the president is free to select anyone he wants and speculation will likely run rampant in the weeks to come. Here is how we assess the possible selections:

TIER ONE:

Diane Wood, Judge Seventh Circuit;
Leah Ward Sears, Former Chief Justice of Georgia Supreme Court; and
Elena Kagan, Solicitor General

TIER TWO:

Merrick Garland, Judge DC Circuit COA;
Kathleen Sullivan, Professor and former dean of Stanford Law School;
Cass Sunstein, Former Chicago & Harvard Law Professor, leads Obama Administration's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs;
Pam Karlan, Stanford Law professor;
Janet Napolitano, Secy DHS;
Jennifer Granholm, Michigan Governor

TIER THREE:

Rosemary Barkett, Judge 11th Circuit;
Fortunato Benavides, Judge 5th Circuit;
Christine Arguello, U.S. District Court Judge Denver;
Ruben Castillo, Judge USDC Northern District of Illinois;
Karen Nelson Moore, Judge 6th Circuit;
Jose Cabranes, Judge 2nd Circuit;
David Tatel, Judge DC Circuit COA;
Deval Patrick, Massachusetts Governor;
Marsha Berzon, Judge 9th Circuit;
Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General;
Charles Ogletree, Law Professor Harvard Law School;
Kim Wardlaw, Judge Ninth Circuit;
Seth Waxman, Former Solicitor General. Lawyer at Wilmer Hale;
Harold Koh, Former Dean Yale Law School--Counsel to State Dept.;
Ken Salazar, Interior Secretary

Our bet is that Mr. Obama will select Cass Sunstein, who would become the most radical nominee to the court ever. His ideology and view of the Constitution has been addressed elsewhere on corson.org and his only chance to move to the Court is this year as certainly the U.S. Senate will have more Republicans and possibly a majority following the November elections.

OH PLEASE GOD NO! HILLARY CLINTON ON THE SUPREME COURT?

The Associated Press reports that there are rumblings around Capitol Hill about Hillary Clinton getting a Supreme Court nod.

Sen. Orrin Hatch says he's heard Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's name mentioned in connection with the Supreme Court vacancy brought about by the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.

This came up following Sen. Hatch's interview on NBC's "Today" show in which he mentioned this exact topic.

Democrats and liberal progressives generally have been crossing their fingers that they'll get a nominee for the Supreme Court from the political sector instead of a federal judge or somesuch person more well-versed in the legal tradition.

The progressive Left is pining for a Justice who doesn't actually follow the law or the Constitution and will rule in whatever "progressive" manner they see fit.

As Conservatives we have to be honest with ourselves with what will happen. President Obama is not going to appoint another Scalia. He won the '08 election and gets to appoint who he pleases. As the opposition party, Republicans' job is to well and truly and thoroughly vet Obama's nominee to ensure that they have at least some nominal fidelity to Constitutional law, some discernable and consistent judicial philosophy, and hope that Obama makes a Stevens-like mistake and nominates someone who will drift Rightward over their years on the Court.

We believe that the Constitution of the United States speaks for itself. There is no need to rewrite, change or reinterpret it to suit the fancies of special interest groups or protected classes.