President Obama, Commander In Chief, and oval office resident constitutional law scholar has the opportunity to nominate another justice to the Supreme Court with the retirement of the liberal scholar icon Justice Stevens.
After appointing Sonia Sotamayor to the Supreme Court, President Obama has nominates Elena Kagan, the first woman Solicitor General of the United States, to the Supreme Court. If she is approved by the Senate there will be an unprecedented three women serving on the U.S. Supreme Court which is still a bit under of what the number should be given that women make up a majority of the American population. On news outlets Kagan is categorized as a moderate. Strong on national security and executive power deference which some Judiciary committee members on the left will likely explore during confirmation hearings. As Dean of Harvard Law School Kagan supported a long-standing policy barring military recruiters from campus, because she felt that the military’s Don’t ask, don’t tell policy discriminated against gays and lesbians. Conservatives on the right will likely challenge her through questioning on this issue. Lets just hope this does not turn into an inquisition over Kagan’s personal life.
Obama’s other candidates included the Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit Ninth Circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, and former Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, who if appointed would have been the first African American female justice
The loss of Justice Stevens will be great given the persistent 5-4 opinions of the Supreme Court. Stevens had been the Court’s longest serving justice, serving with three Chief Justices. He has been the Court’s institutional memory serving on the court with the likes of Thurgood Marshall and William Brennan which has to some measure kept Chief Justice Roberts and his allies from going even further to the right. The filling of his shoes will be no easy task.