The Corner

SCOTUS Retirement Watch

From John Fund:

The new political landscape also has big implications for the Supreme Court. The odds of one or even two vacancies occurring this summer before the current oversized Democratic Senate majority shrinks have just gone up in the wake of Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts and Mr. Bayh’s retirement. Justice John Paul Stevens turns 90 this April, and has already signaled his retirement by hiring only one law clerk for the Supreme Court term that begins next October. A retired justice is allowed a single clerk; a sitting Justice normally has four clerks.

Mr. Stevens may not be the only retirement. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 76 years old and has struggled with poor health. She may calculate that the odds of being replaced by a like-minded liberal — perhaps Solicitor General Elena Kagan or 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diane Wood — would be significantly better if she timed her departure to take advantage of the Democrat-dominated Senate that gave Sonia Sotomayor easy confirmation last year. If she waits, the prospect of a bitter confirmation battle in a closely divided Senate might sway President Obama to make a more pragmatic appointment.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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