Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A mediocre Supreme Court is a very bad thing

Media outlets around the country are licking their chops and wetting themselves in anticipation of another summer of conflicts and tea parties across the nation now that Justice John Paul Stevens has announced that he will retire from the Supreme Court at age 90. They are hoping for a highly controversial nominee to replace Justice Stevens, someone who will keep the pot of discontent boiling. Conflict is good business for them, and if it doesn't come naturally, outlets like Fox News will do their best to engender it.

Of course, the truth is that no matter who President Obama nominates, that person will immediately be controversial to the tea partiers and their Republican allies. There isn't even a nominee yet, but the imaginary nominee is already being denounced by the most rabid of these wack-a-doodles. Unfortunately, for those of us on the opposite of the political poles from the tea partiers, it seems highly unlikely that the president will nominate anyone who can fill Justice Stevens' liberal niche on the court. Indeed, no matter who he nominates that person is likely to be more conservative than Stevens and will probably move this already fairly radically right-leaning court even farther to the right.

For me, that is truly the saddest part about seeing this honorable man leave the court. For the rest of my lifetime, I will most likely be stuck with a Supreme Court that is ruled by the likes of Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Scalia. In other words, a Supreme Court that I do not trust and do not believe in, a court that is ruled by political considerations rather than by reverence for the Constitution and the welfare of the country. I really don't see how anyone that the president nominates for this new vacancy will have the weight to balance out the mediocrity of our present court, but I wish him well in the effort to do so. For the sake of the country, I hope he proves me wrong.

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