Obama talks Supreme Court nomination with Senate

The Supreme Court of the United States

An Obama Supreme Court pick may report by fall if confirmations go well. From Wikimedia Commons

Choosing a new Supreme Court Justice is a daunting task for any president, and the Obama Supreme Court pick to replace John Paul Stevens is an item of contention.  Justice John Paul Stevens is widely considered one of the more liberal members of the Court, and the president has begun discussion with the Senate about one of the biggest sticky wickets of nominating a Supreme Court justice.  It’s thought that Congressional Republicans will do everything up to getting paycheck loans to block any perceived liberal nomination.

Obama Supreme Court pick and the litmus test

Ever since the decision in Roe vs. Wade, the litmus test for any Supreme Court nomination has been that case, or specifically, abortion.  Par for the course is for the issue to be carefully tread around during confirmation hearings.  The president has stated he has no interest in that particular litmus test. His concern, from the Huffington Post, is that the Obama Supreme Court pick will be respectful of individual rights, including women’s.  That could be taken to mean that he desires to pick a justice who will uphold Roe v. Wade without directly saying it, or it could not.

Litmus tests

There are numerous litmus tests for public officials, and Supreme Court Justices are subjected to several litmus tests.  One is asking them how they feel or would decide regarding abortion, or Roe v. Wade.  The terms “judicial activism,” “interpretation” and “legislating from the bench” are also big players in Supreme Court nominations.  These litmus tests don’t always indicate whether a justice will decide as certain liberals or conservatives would like.  Chief Justice Burger, for instance, often ruled contrary to how many wanted him to.  Many interested parties wanted him to overturn Warren Court decisions, which he didn’t.

Replacing John Paul Stevens no easy task

John Paul Stevens is the fourth longest serving Justice in Supreme Court history.  He is 90 years of age and joined the Court in 1975, and is the last member of the Burger Court.  Confirmation hearings can take longer to wrap up than debt consolidation, and with the contentious air in Washington, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether an Obama Supreme Court pick will be installed in time for the fall docket.