The summer push

Human Events reports that Senate Republicans are making progress on three key court of appeals nominees. Jim Haynes reportedly is moving towards a vote by the Judiciary Committee, but only after the Committee holds a second hearing (as happened with Brett Kavanaugh) during which Haynes will have the opportunity to defend himself from criticism over his role as general counsel at the Department of Defense. Michael Wallace, a nominee to the Fifth Circuit is expected to receive his hearing in July. And Terrence Boyle, whose nomination to the Fourth Circuit cleared committee a year ago, may be moving towards a Senate vote, as the White House and Chairman Specter’s staff reportedly are briefing Senators regarding the conflict of interest allegations that have been raised against Judge Boyle.

With things finally moving in the Senate, it’s time for the White House to make some more nominations, including a successor to Judge Luttig on the Fourth Circuit.

JOHN adds: The Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary says there is buzz in Washington about the possibility of another Supreme Court nomination:

Will he or won’t he? He probably won’t, but that doesn’t stop Supreme Court watchers from speculating about whether Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will retire at the end of the month. Retiring Justices typically go public at the end of the term. Sandra Day O’Connor announced her retirement on July 1 last year.

Those in the “will” camp point to the fact that Justice Stevens is 86 years old and has been on the High Court since 1975. They also note the unstated rule of judicial etiquette under which Justices leave with the one who brung them — which is to say they retire during the term of a President of the same political party as the President who nominated them. Justice Stevens was named by President Ford. Those in the “won’t” camp say Justice Stevens appears to love his job and to be in vigorous health. They also point out that the job of an associate justice isn’t heavy lifting. Justice Stevens lives in Florida, returning to Washington only for oral arguments.

He won’t. That’s my guess, anyway. Anyone who thinks Stevens wants his successor to be appointed by a Republican President hasn’t been following his votes. I’d bet that he will stay on until after 2008, if his health permits.


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