Mike Rappaport at The Right Coast Blog makes an interesting observation.
The Republicans have another opportunity to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. This is not necessarily a cause for joy, even for Republicans. Consider the following hypothetical Supreme Court:
Chief Justice: Earl Warren (Eisenhower, 1953)
Associate Justice: William Brennan (Eisenhower, 1956)
Associate Justice: John Paul Stevens (Ford, 1975)
Associate Justice: Harry Blackmun (Nixon, 1970)
Associate Justice: David Souter (GHW Bush, 1990)
Associate Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor (Reagan, 1981)
Associate Justice: Potter Stewart (Eisenhower, 1958)
Associate Justice: Lewis Powell (Nixon, 1972)
Associate Justice: Anthony Kennedy (Reagan, 1988)
This is a very liberal Supreme Court. The first five represent a solid majority block for liberal positions and the remaining four are swing voters who will often support those liberal positions on issues ranging from affirmative action to abortion rights.
Sadly, all of these justices were appointed by Republicans. Indeed, every former Republican President from Eisenhower to George H. W. Bush made some of these appointments.
I wish I were confident that the President appreciated these facts, but I am not.
It would also be useful to start reminding people that there have been more than 300 recess appointments of judges in the country's history, beginning with George Washington, and including appointments to the Supreme Court. Eisenhower used recess appointments to put Chief Justice Warren, and Justices Brennan and Stewart on the bench. If the Senate gets roiled by procedural obstructionism, President Bush should be prepared to place his nominee on the court and allow the process to catch up with the new Justice sometime before the end of 2006.