Will Stevens Replacement Be Opposed No Matter What?

Post by Randall Ryder

As soon as Justice Stevens announced he was stepping down, conservatives began preparing for a battle against an alleged "liberal replacement." Now there is buzz that liberals will oppose a replacement who is not liberal enough.

Conservatives should not be extremely concerned. Obama has shown a tendency to stick to the middle, and is not nearly as liberal as he is portrayed. While his current list of nominees are certainly considered more liberal then conservative, nobody on the list is considered a far-left liberal.

Left-wing liberals, on the other hand, probably do not have enough sway to truly oppose a nomination. The number of far-left liberals in the Senate is fairly small, and certainly not enough to oppose a nomination.

In particular, liberals are strongly opposed to US Court of Appeal Judge Merrick Garland. Liberals consider him far too centrist to be a comparable replacement to Justice Stevens. Liberals are especially critical of Garland’s deference to Bush’s indefinite detentions at Guantanamo Bay back in 2003. Garland also counts Chief Justice Roberts among his friends. 

Garland, however, may be the candidate most likely to exercise judicial restraint. He is generally well-regarded by conservatives and progressives, although it is unlikely he would be considered on a conservative short-list to replace Stevens. 

At the same time, as noted last week, it is perhaps impossible to determine what an individual will do once they are appointed. Conservative justices often turn more liberal, and vice-versa. Given that the Court is essentially split in half, 4 liberals and 4 conservatives, perhaps someone who is centrist is just what the Court needs; perhaps a person who could create more unity on a seemingly fractured and partisan Court. 

What do you think? What type of Justice does the Supreme Court need?

Potential Supreme Court pick Garland could find foes on left | The Washington Post

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