Thursday, February 05, 2009


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg had surgery today to remove a cancerous tumor from her pancreas. This of course piques the interest of those either worried or excited about the Obama administration's first opportunity to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. Though doctors say this tumor was caught early and though Ginsberg vows to be back at work when the court re-convenes, there stands a good chance that it wont be for very long. I would caution against panic on either side of the aisle as the current administration would likely replace Justice Ginsberg with someone of similar ideology and political leaning. What I am more concerned about and what should be on the forefront of our national concern is not the ideological position of an Obama appointee. Rather in light of the trouble this young president is having putting together a cabinet, we have to be concerned that a nominee from this President is qualified at all. I can close my eyes and imagine a Senate confirmation hearing in which we discover that a potential Supreme never paid taxes, or perhaps worked as a lobbyist. The trouble with the possibility of an open slot so early in his Presidency (as is the likelihood with pancreatic cancer survival rates being as low as they are) is that this president has had and unprecedentedly small amount of time to learn how to select and vet people for important jobs. He and his team simply cannot get their shit together. This is a dangerous point when we talk about Secretary level posts, but it could be absolutely catastrophic in a lifetime judicial appointment.

Say what you will about Ginsberg, it would be difficult if not impossible to claim that she hasn't at least been qualified and above board. She may disagree on important constitutional matters with you, but it would be far worse if she disagreed with you and was corrupt, unable to understand tax law, or in the pocket of a special interest. Lest we too soon forget the Harriet Miers debacle with the previous President.

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