Friday, May 1, 2009

The Daily Strike-5/1/09-May Day

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. This has definitely been one of the busiest weeks I can remember in a long time in Washington DC. Can you believe that a Supreme Court retirement was maybe the third or fourth biggest story of the week?

SOUTER: Justice Souter officially announced his retirement today, effective upon the confirmation of his successor. He sent a robotic letter to the President, invoking the provision under federal law that permits his retirement, and not expressing any, well, human emotion. The question now turns to the battle over his replacement. President Obama interrupted Robert Gibbs' White House briefing to announce that he had spoken to Souter, and that he will begin a search for a qualified nominee immediately. Gibbs indicated that the President wants the nominee seated by the time the court term begins in October. My guess is that Obama would have to name a nominee in July to make that happen, since the Senate is on recess for the full month of August and confirmation hearings can last a few weeks. I just hope he vets the selection thoroughly so he doesn't have to deal with a Hariet Miers-like situation.

The most widely mentioned potential replacement is Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor of New York. She is a moderate/liberal jurist appointed to her current position in 1998 by President Clinton. Obama will probably want to nominate a woman, since there is only one on the current court. It's also somewhat likely that he'll make history by appointing the first Hispanic Justice in American. Sotomayor would fit both of those criteria. Another name I've heard floating around is Elena Kagen, recently confirmed as Solicitor General. As the Big Picture pointed out today, it will be wise for Obama to appoint someone as liberal as possible without stoking unnecessary culture war flames. In other words, someone who is left-wing, but without lefty associations like the ACLU or Planned Parenthood. On the other hand, the Democrats have 59 Senate seats right now and could have 60 by the time the nomination comes up for a vote. So he should be able to get almost anyone on the court as long as his party toes the line. As we mentioned yesterday, Souter is one of the more liberal justices on the court, so Obama's appointment likely won't change the ideological balance of the court. Therefore, the inevitable fights between left and right interest groups will be slightly tempered.

NELSON THE FOOL: If Barack Obama wants to get health care reform passed this year, he's going to need a pretty unified Democratic caucus. With the reconciliation option, we can afford to lose a few Democrats down the line, but we at least need to present a unified front to go up against the insurance companies. It seems that self-anointed moderate Ben Nelson (D-NE) didn't get the message. Today, Nelson announced that he would not support a health care plan that includes a public option. Liberals want a public option as part of a plan to increase competition with private companies. That way, private companies would lose money if they tried shenanigans like denying service because of pre-existing condition. The insurance companies, of course, don't like this idea, and apparently have gotten to Nelson. It's so inconceivable to me that he would stake out this position so early. He has no principal whatsoever besides being in the "center" of whatever the political climate is. If Democrats were calling for a single-payer European system, and Republicans were calling for a public option to compete with the private companies, I'm sure Ben Nelson would be in strong support of the latter. That gives me an idea...

COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Finally tonight, our comment of the week. This one comes from "anonymous" who expressed well-justified disgust at opposition to the Hate Crimes Act, passed by the House on Wednesday.

"so I was checking the house roll call, and saw "Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act," clicked to the link and was a bit shocked that 175 say nay?? then read the bill in details, and I'm still scratching my head - this is not about whether one supports guy or not; it's not personal values; it's about human lives!! I know the list is long, but there should be a separate blog entry to list these 175 names - shame on them!

first 100 days: still a long way to go, generally I like the way President handles things so far. I give President Obama a A-


By the way, if you want a list of those 175 names, you can find it here. Really disgusting indeed. Thanks to E for his/her comments!! PLEASE, everyone, leave us some more. See you tomorrow night!

No comments:

Post a Comment