Here is one nominee for Supreme Court who Republicans would find impossible to block

by: Chris Bowers

Mon Apr 12, 2010 at 16:47

Former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Leah Ward Sears is on the short list.  If President Obama is looking for an easy confirmation process for a good judge, Sears would have to be the choice.  Here is why she would likely have an easy confirmation:

While all of this would likely ease her nomination, many of these items raise red flags for progressives.  However, looking over her major decisions, there is not much to take issue with.

Sears seems like the best bet right now, and certainly better than Elana Kagan.  At only 55 years of age, Sears would likely be on the court for 20-25 years.  Hopefully, her appearance on the short list is more than just the White House is leaking the name of an African-American woman in order to get points simply for considering her.

Chris Bowers :: Here is one nominee for Supreme Court who Republicans would find impossible to block

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Sounds pretty good to me. (0.00 / 0)
I know it's a longshot, but I'm still hoping for Harold Koh.

Impossible? (4.00 / 1)
Clearly, you don't know Republicans in 2010.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

so true (4.00 / 1)
Leah Ward Sears, appointed by Zell Miller, friend of Clarence Thomas. She happily endorsed her right winger replacement (Nahmias who worked for Scalia and Roberts). Obviously a foaming at the mouth extremist who Republicans must oppose by any means necessary!!

[ Parent ]
It makes sense to nominate a non-white justice (4.00 / 1)
It would be bait to get the Tea Party people to do more explicitly racist behavior and possibly help motivate non-whites to turn out in the mid-term elections.

Some Republican Senators will struggle to avoid appearing linked with anything atrocious the Tea Partiers might do or say.

It will probably stifle some (but not all) criticism on the left about any flaws the nominee might turn out to have.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

I want a fight (4.00 / 6)
The best possible pick right now would be one that rallies the base and promotes ending the filibuster.  To do both, you can't go completely liberal as too many Democrats will claim the Republicans have a point.  We need someone as liberal as possible that still rallies Democrats behind ending the filibuster.

Then the Republicans take the bait, we bring liberals to the polls and end the filibuster next session, finally getting our nominee in.

I agree. And there is a recent QH (4.00 / 1)
here from David Kaib linked to a story in The American prospect about why a good fight, with a damn good liberal is an Excellent Idea Right Now. Both the QH and article are worthy reading, but here's the gist:
"To paraphrase Joey La Motta, if Obama puts forward a strong progressive nominee and we win, we win. If we lose, we still win. Obama's choice should be clear: Nominate a strong progressive voice to the Court."


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
I am not opposed to several of the potential nominees. (0.00 / 0)
I do not think that several are the lions we need on the court, lions to take up the shoes of the Courts history - but a strong liberal would be part of a beginning to acknowledge the base and the recently engaged.

If we loose the recently engaged, and Paul R. says it is too late, Obama will not just lose the next election, but destroy a generation of change activists. And that would be a crime of historical proportions.


The government has a defect: it's potentially democratic. Corporations have no defect: they're pure tyrannies. -Chomsky

[ Parent ]
You lost me at (4.00 / 5)
"you can't go completely liberal."

There's no excuse for not going completely liberal (although I'm not sure what "completely liberal" means.) The chance to get a liberal giant on the court should trump all other considerations.  

[ Parent ]
Filibuster (4.00 / 1)
I was trying to kill two birds with one stone, someone the Republicans will filibuster and the Democrats will rally behind, demanding to legally end the filibuster once and for all.  I'm guessing such a person would be one tick to the right of the most liberal qualified candidate.  I want 59 pissed off Senators.

Note that none of the rumored possibilities would be too liberal for this to happen.

[ Parent ]
I gotchya (4.00 / 1)
Although I don't this even that would bring about the end of the filibuster, especially if and when the GOP picks up seats in November.

In any case, I think, all things considered, Diane Wood would be a good, if not great, pick. She's liberal enough, especially on abortion to ignite a genuine shitfit on the right and moderate enough (I think) to get the support of all the Dems. Plus her specialty is anti-trust law.  

[ Parent ]
red flags! (4.00 / 4)
Without knowing more, I count several red flags just in your short synopsis.  She's a friend of Clarence Thomas?  She's on the board of a conservative institute?  She calls herself a moderate with a progressive streak?  She works on white collar crime issues--but you seem a bit unsure of whether she's prosecuting them or not (big difference)!
When I click to the conservative institute site for one minute, I see a bunch of propaganda about "just war" and Iraq--another red flag for me.  And now T Maysle points out in the comments that she was appointed by that right-wing lunatic Zell Miller?
This suggestion makes me really nervous.  Until we find out more about her, I keep flashing on a David Souter in reverse...
At first glance, I like Mark Matson's suggestion a lot better--a liberal who can speak coherently about the Constitution would be good, and let's have a fight.

more names (0.00 / 0)
To the list of candidates President Obama is considering for the Supreme Court, strike this name: Hillary Rodham Clinton. But add these: Sidney Thomas, Janet Napolitano, Jennifer Granholm and Leah Ward Sears.

On Monday, other names began to surface. A White House official confirmed that Judge Sidney Thomas of the federal appeals court of Montana is on Mr. Obama's list, as are Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and Leah Ward Sears, a former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court who made history as the first black woman to serve as a chief justice in a United States court.

Nothing here shows she'd be easy to confirm (4.00 / 1)
Orrin Hatch's isolated comment hardly is proof of what most the GOP would do.

And nothing else you mention, Chris, is going to determine whether she's easy to confirm: for a judge with a record, it's going to be a matter of examining and picking apart that record.

The truth is that none of us really know enough about her even to determine whether we WANT her on the court, let alone know whether she'd be easy to confirm.

I think the GOP will filibuster regardless (4.00 / 2)
But there are several associations here that will embarrass them. And her decision history seems quite good: i particularly like State vs. Davis - the thought that evidence of actual innocence of people on death row should be disregarded for bureaucratic reasons is obscene, and we should adopt it as our condemnation of inhuman governmental bureaucracy.  

Easy to confirm? Not necessarily. (0.00 / 0)
I suspect the right would attack Mrs. Sears for being "too soft on crime."  Many of her Fourth and Eighth Amendment opinions favor the accused, rather than their accusers (see  I don't blame her for that, of course.  Nor would Blackstone, I suspect.

I don't think you get to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia before you're 50 without having considerable talent, so I suspect she'll answer those objections well, if she gets a Senate hearing (i.e., if the "liberal" media doesn't let the right wing crucify her first).

The GOP won't and can't (0.00 / 0)
block any of the people being thrown about. Maybe if a Pam Karlan got nominated he wouldn't be able to get her confirmed or it would be close and filibustered. But everyone else even the longest of lists would be confirmed.

I'm still not convinced that Sears would be a good choice, or more progressive than Kagan. I know Greenwald has shaped the narrative, but I'm much more comfortable with a Marshall and Mikva judge who donated to ActBlue and Judy Feder than someone with a fellowship at the IAV and who's buddies with Thomas.

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