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Thread: Souter to retire... let the fun begin!

  1. #1
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Souter to retire... let the fun begin!

    Justice Souter to Retire from the U.S. Supreme Court

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/...ing/index.html

    The timing of this seems odd. I would have thought any retiring justice would have waited at least a year into Obama's term before retiring, barring any medical issues. Any thoughts on who Obama might tap as a justice?

    Souter was an interesting justice. Nominated by Bush 1.0, who expected a conservative justice, he ended up being a moderate, independent voice (though nothing compared to Justices Kennedy & O'Conner, who you could damn near never predict). Certainly not a high-profile justice.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    IMHO, Souter has been reliably liberal in recent years. It will be interesting, but the balance on the Court should not change much.

    OTOH, what if BHO nominates someone who he THINKS is a lefty and he or she then makes a hard turn to the right once confirmed?

    Mike

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    I think that this will be interesting. My guess is that it will either be a woman or a minority pick.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

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    Cyburbian PrahaSMC's avatar
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    J.P Stevens is almost certain to step down with the first term of this administration as well. But as mentioned above, these new appointments aren't likely to change the ideological make-up of the court... the only conservative justice over the age of 70 is Scalia and it's unlikely he'd be going anywhere soon.

  5. #5
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by PrahaSMC View post
    J.P Stevens is almost certain to step down with the first term of this administration as well. But as mentioned above, these new appointments aren't likely to change the ideological make-up of the court... the only conservative justice over the age of 70 is Scalia and it's unlikely he'd be going anywhere soon.
    I agree. It's going to take a health incident of some kind to cause any changes in the court balance.

    I imagine Stevens will pop up in about a year. I'm just very interested in the timing of Souter's departure so quickly after Obama took office. Souter trended toward the liberal side of the force, especially over about the last 5-6 years.

    My money is on a minority female, as far as demographic characteristics of the next justice. In particular, I think a Latino/Latina/Hispanic (you get my drift) is very likely.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    Our local news reported this AM that President Obama is considering Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, for the appointment. I was surprised to hear that someone in an executive (rather than judicial) role was being considered... unless there's more to Patrick's background than I know.

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek View post
    I think that this will be interesting. My guess is that it will either be a woman or a minority pick.
    Affirmative Action alive and well with the Dems in charge...

    Let's hope the pick the most qualified. I too will hope a stark balance remains.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mud Princess View post
    Our local news reported this AM that President Obama is considering Deval Patrick, the governor of Massachusetts, for the appointment. I was surprised to hear that someone in an executive (rather than judicial) role was being considered... unless there's more to Patrick's background than I know.
    A person does not have to be a lawyer or judge to be a court justice. Past justices have included governors and senators.

    I just want them to have a sharp legal mind and have a clue as to how decisions can play out and project into the future. I also hope they truly care more about the nation than previous political positions.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    A person does not have to be a lawyer or judge to be a court justice. Past justices have included governors and senators.
    I believe the only requirements are the individual has to be nominated by the Pres and confirmed by the Senate.

    Joe the (impostor) Plumber could become a Supreme Court justice.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    I believe the only requirements are the individual has to be nominated by the Pres and confirmed by the Senate.

    Joe the Plumber could become a Supreme Court justice.
    We have also had ex-Presidents appointed to the Supreme Court (see: William Howard Taft).

    William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, anyone?



    Mike

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Duke Of Dystopia View post
    A person does not have to be a lawyer or judge to be a court justice. Past justices have included governors and senators.

    Hell, I'll do it. I consider myself fair, objectively and pretty moderate politically. I won't be afraid of being laid-off every year. Barring any major health problems I should be alive for another 40 years.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian kalimotxo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    Affirmative Action alive and well with the Dems in charge...

    Let's hope the pick the most qualified. I too will hope a stark balance remains.
    Sorry, but this is completely baseless. There have been 2 women on the SC - one picked by a Dem, one picked by a Republican. There have been 2 minorities on the court - again one picked by a Dem and the other a Republican.

    Considering the fact that non-Latino white males make up about 33% of the U.S. population, I don't think you can really call nominating anyone not matching those criteria "affirmative action." Just because they monopolized the SC for nearly 200 years doesn't mean that's the way it should be. End of rant.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo View post
    Sorry, but this is completely baseless. There have been 2 women on the SC - one picked by a Dem, one picked by a Republican. There have been 2 minorities on the court - again one picked by a Dem and the other a Republican.

    Considering the fact that non-Latino white males make up about 33% of the U.S. population, I don't think you can really call nominating anyone not matching those criteria "affirmative action." Just because they monopolized the SC for nearly 200 years doesn't mean that's the way it should be. End of rant.
    Much obliged for the history lesson. My post has "base" and I will stick by what I said. Nothing has happened yet and I hope I am wrong about how this will turn out.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  14. #14
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Just my thoughts - finding the definitively most qualified person from a pool of more than 300 million is pretty much impossible.

    This also isn't a job that people "apply" for, so you're not picking the most qualified from a pool of applicants.

    So...I see no problem with trying to make the court demographics more accurately reflect the demographics of the country. The court itself has said (in cases involving race) that it shouldn't be the only factor, but it should be a "substantial" factor, as different races can bring different points of view and experiences (all else being equal). I suspect the same would be said of gender. In addition, I don't think that it would be hard at all to find a qualified Hispanic or female (or both) to fill the slot.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian kalimotxo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    Much obliged for the history lesson. My post has "base" and I will stick by what I said. Nothing has happened yet and I hope I am wrong about how this will turn out.
    Then please, spell it out. Otherwise, what you said amounts to inflammatory political trolling, plain and simple.

    Moderator note:


    For clarification, his post does not fall within trolling definitions.

    2.15 Trolling
    Trolling is posting with the intent to incite controversy or cause offense. Trolling is not permitted. Polemic and devil's advocacy are welcome, but discussions should not deteriorate into Usenet-style shouting matches.

    He is likely referring to the fact that the discussion in this thread did not immediately go to jurisprudence, but to demographic character. He never said that the "most qualified" would not be an underrepresented group.


    SR
    Last edited by Suburb Repairman; 01 May 2009 at 2:05 PM.
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian rcgplanner's avatar
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    Souter like most of the SC Justices is an interesting character. Souter was a bit of a loaner and a luddite by choice. He brought the same lunch every day, an apple and a yogurt in a plastic grocery bag, and ate by himself in his chambers. He penned his opinions longhand with a fountain pen. He loved the job, but hated DC.

    Back on topic, Obama will prob. not have much opportunity to shake up the court. Souter was fairly liberal in his opinions. The next 2 most probable retirements after Souter are liberal as well. Still it will be interesting to see a new face in the SC.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo View post
    Then please, spell it out. Otherwise, what you said amounts to inflammatory political trolling, plain and simple.
    You, Friend, are merely trolling an answer out of me. I have done nothing but made a point.

    You are the only one who "trolled" up my post.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  18. #18
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    CNN has a pretty good list of potential replacements--looks like about 20 people.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com...er/#more-50052

    I think this is where my money is going...

    Judge Sonia Sotomayor, 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
    Born 1954. Has been on the appeals bench since 1998, named a district court judge by Bush in 1992, so would have some bipartisan support. Moderate-liberal views and Hispanic heritage considered big pluses.


    These would be my other like ones. I don't see him going outside of the Court of Appeals for anyone. He preferred people with experience for his cabinet, and I expect it to carry over to his judicial picks. I also think this may an area where you see some efforts toward bipartisan approval.

    Judge Ann Claire Williams, 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
    Born 1949. Another possible consensus pick. Nominated, at the age of 35, to the U.S. District Court in 1985 by President Reagan, and then elevated to her current job by President Clinton. She is a labeled by many as a moderate who would be the first African-American woman on the Supreme Court. A former inner-city teacher in Detroit, she became the third African-American woman appeals court judge.

    Judge Diane Wood, 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
    Born 1950. She has sat on the bench since 1995. Considered moderate-liberal, well-regarded by many. Former clerk for Justice Blackmun, and served in both President Reagan and President Clinton Justice Departments. Possible consensus pick.

    Judge Jose Cabranes, 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
    Born 1940. A moderate liked by both Republicans and Democrats. He was considered for the Court by both President H.W. Bush and President Clinton. Being a Hispanic might elevate his stock if President Obama is looking to add diversity to the court. Vocal critic of federal sentencing guidelines.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    Just my thoughts - finding the definitively most qualified person from a pool of more than 300 million is pretty much impossible.

    This also isn't a job that people "apply" for, so you're not picking the most qualified from a pool of applicants.

    So...I see no problem with trying to make the court demographics more accurately reflect the demographics of the country. The court itself has said (in cases involving race) that it shouldn't be the only factor, but it should be a "substantial" factor, as different races can bring different points of view and experiences (all else being equal). I suspect the same would be said of gender. In addition, I don't think that it would be hard at all to find a qualified Hispanic or female (or both) to fill the slot.

    The first point is kind of defeatist, no? Thoughts like this only bring us into mediocrity.


    There is a pool of applicants. While the job will not be posted on USAJOBS.gov, there still will be a candidate pool.

    As for the last thought, I cannot imagine picking someone based on gender or race being of a benefit to all involved. Why should any group represent proportionally the country's ethic/gender make up. If this is the case, one of the candidate MUST be part Hungarian... so my ethnicity can have a voice... please?
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  20. #20
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    The first point is kind of defeatist, no? Thoughts like this only bring us into mediocrity.
    My point was that there would probably be at least a few hundred people that were "just as" qualified as everyone else. The idea of finding the one correct person is ridiculous, IMO.

    There is a pool of applicants. While the job will not be posted on USAJOBS.gov, there still will be a candidate pool.
    I guess. I assume you mean the people that pundits assume would be good for the job/interested? We all know that there are plenty or right-leaning folks who are plenty "qualified" that will not be considered, simply because of political views. I find that to be more of a problem overall (not a problem with Obama in particular, but with the system in general - not something I want or expect Obama to try to fix) than picking someone of a particular race when all other things are equal.

    As for the last thought, I cannot imagine picking someone based on gender or race being of a benefit to all involved. Why should any group represent proportionally the country's ethic/gender make up. If this is the case, one of the candidate MUST be part Hungarian... so my ethnicity can have a voice... please?
    I didn't say that it should be the only factor. I was merely saying that if there is a group of people made up of people who are all equally qualified in all other ways, I wouldn't be alarmed to see Obama pick a Hispanic or woman or both. As I stated before, "the court itself has said that it shouldn't be the only factor, but it should be a 'substantial' factor, as different races can bring different points of view and experiences (all else being equal)".

    On your last sentence - Women are 50% of the population, currently just over 11% of the SC. Hispanics are 15% or so of the population, 0% of the SC. Those are big discrepancies, and I would view it as potentially more of a race or gender problem if Obama states that there were simply no female or Hispanic candidates that were sufficiently qualified.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  21. #21
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    The first point is kind of defeatist, no? Thoughts like this only bring us into mediocrity.


    There is a pool of applicants. While the job will not be posted on USAJOBS.gov, there still will be a candidate pool.

    As for the last thought, I cannot imagine picking someone based on gender or race being of a benefit to all involved. Why should any group represent proportionally the country's ethic/gender make up. If this is the case, one of the candidate MUST be part Hungarian... so my ethnicity can have a voice... please?
    Once you get to the point of selecting who should be one of the top nine legal authorities in the land, it becomes incredibly difficult to discern between their qualifications, jurisprudence, etc. Look at the link I posted... ignoring any of their demographic characteristics and without reading every damn one of their opinions, virtually all have a pedigree consistent with what one would look for in a qualified SC justice. When you have several equally/similarly qualified individuals, you have to look at something to decide.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo View post
    Then please, spell it out. Otherwise, what you said amounts to inflammatory political trolling, plain and simple.

    Moderator note:


    For clarification, his post does not fall within trolling definitions.

    2.15 Trolling
    Trolling is posting with the intent to incite controversy or cause offense. Trolling is not permitted. Polemic and devil's advocacy are welcome, but discussions should not deteriorate into Usenet-style shouting matches.

    He is likely referring to the fact that the discussion in this thread did not immediately go to jurisprudence, but to demographic character. He never said that the "most qualified" would not be an underrepresented group.


    SR
    Chill out kalimotxo! We havn't even gotten CLOSE to the flames yet!

    Back off and keep your powder dry until you really need it. Besides, trolling gets a bit subtle around here. It's been a while since seeing a yellow card!

    Thick skin is a virtue, and without it, the trolls will easily rip your skin right from your body while your still alive!

    Besides, one would at least give Obama maybe 4 or 5 hours to maybe think about who he might nominate? We got all summer to ponder Obama pondering people clawing and gouging each other to shreds for a chance to further ponder our fates through the ponderous actions and schemes of congress.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  23. #23
    Cyburbian kalimotxo's avatar
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    Moderator note:


    For clarification, his post does not fall within trolling definitions.

    2.15 Trolling
    Trolling is posting with the intent to incite controversy or cause offense. Trolling is not permitted. Polemic and devil's advocacy are welcome, but discussions should not deteriorate into Usenet-style shouting matches.

    He is likely referring to the fact that the discussion in this thread did not immediately go to jurisprudence, but to demographic character. He never said that the "most qualified" would not be an underrepresented group.


    SR


    I appreciate the clarification and I apologize for disrupting the thread by throwing the T word around. I'm just a little bothered by the fact that I can seldom read any politics-related threads without someone immediately resorting to simplistic political stereotypes. We have no indication of Obama's pick for SC justice, yet the immediate suggestion is that because he's a Democrat, he will choose an unqualified minority when there's really no historical basis for such a suggestion. It's no more right than if the the pres was Republican and someone suggested "Well, now that the GOP's in charge, we'll never have a minority on the bench." Those types of stereotypes, Dem or Repub, are detrimental to the level of dialogue.

    Anyway, I'm relatively new to the board and still feeling my way around. The planners I work with, while not afraid to share political opinions, are characteristically diplomatic when it comes to this sort of discussion; I think that's an indispensable trait in the profession. It's probably just the nature of internet message boards in general, but I'll probably be avoiding the political stuff on here and stick to the topics I'm more passionate about: planning and delicious beer
    Process and dismissal. Shelter and location. Everybody wants somewhere.

  24. #24
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo View post
    I'm just a little bothered by the fact that I can seldom read any politics-related threads without someone immediately resorting to simplistic political stereotypes.
    Welcome to teh internets. Some of the political threads around here can get bad at times in that regard, but its better than most.

    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo
    . It's probably just the nature of internet message boards in general, but I'll probably be avoiding the political stuff on here and stick to the topics I'm more passionate about: planning and delicious beer
    Words of wisdom.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  25. #25
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kalimotxo View post
    Anyway, I'm relatively new to the board and still feeling my way around. The planners I work with, while not afraid to share political opinions, are characteristically diplomatic when it comes to this sort of discussion; I think that's an indispensable trait in the profession. It's probably just the nature of internet message boards in general, but I'll probably be avoiding the political stuff on here and stick to the topics I'm more passionate about: planning and delicious beer
    I'm reminded of Arlo Guthrie's famous lines from Alice's Restaurant,
    He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?"
    And I said, "Littering." And they all moved away from me on the bench
    there, and the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean nasty things, till I
    said, "And creating a nuisance." And they all came back, shook my hand,
    and we had a great time on the bench, talkin about crime, mother stabbing,
    father raping, all kinds of groovy things that we was talking about on the
    bench.
    Welcome to the Group W bench, kid!
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

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