The question on many people’s mind now that Justice Stevens has retired is who will President Obama pick to replace him? At the moment there seem to be two schools of thought. The first is that Obama may try to appoint someone who is pretty moderate (like a Justice Kennedy, but left leaning) to appeal to the independents/moderates in the upcoming fall election. Those on that side of the argument maintain that Obama needs to show that now the Healthcare debacle is behind us he’s not an ideologue and can appoint someone more moderate to the court.

Justice Stevens is Gone

The second school of thought is that it’s now or never. Since it seems likely that Congress is going to be more Republican after the fall elections Obama might as well go for broke and appoint a far lefty because this is his last chance to make that impact.

Both schools have good points, but I’ve seen little in this administration to ever suggest a moderate approach. Obama has been pretty solidly to the left in nearly every aspect of his administration, so I have little hope that he’ll suddenly see the light and appoint a moderate justice.

So far the main names we’ve seen floated around are Elena Kagan, who is the first female Solicitor General (appointed by Obama); Diane Wood of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Merrick Garland of the D.C. Court of Appeals. All three are pretty far to the left with Kagan perhaps the most moderate of the three. The biggest problem with Kagan is that she has very little writings on the law because she has never served as a judge before.

The only good news for conservatives is that at least Obama will be replacing a far lefty with another lefty, so the balance of the court won’t change at all. Even more helpful is the fact that Stevens is the most senior member of the court, so whenever he was in the minority he could write the dissent or pick the person to do that. He could also use the Jedi Mind trick on Kennedy and O’Connor and get them to vote with the libs are several issues, so hopefully Roberts can keep his grip on Kennedy on some of the important cases like abortion rights and gun control that are making their way through the system right now.

So, who’s your money on? Call em now.

Exit Question: Why is it only Republicans appoint justices that turn out the be lefties? I’d love for Sotomayor to turn out to be a stealth die hard conservative, sadly that never happens.