Editor’s Note: You can read more Jami Floyd blogs on “In Session.”
AC360° contributor and In Session anchor
I’ve predicted quite publicly, including on national television, that President Barack Obama will make his first Supreme Court appointment within his first 100 days. But I wouldn’t have predicted one this soon. And while it is true that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is undergoing cancer treatment here in New York, has no immediate plan to retire, news of her hospitalization has sparked a flurry of speculation about who might replace her, were she to do so.
It’s all very morbid, I know, but statistics alone suggest that President Obama will name at least three justices in the coming months and years. Justice Stevens may be sharp as a tack; but he will turn 89 in April. Justices Kennedy and Scalia are both 72, and the latter has indicated that he would rather not live out his days on the Court, as has Justice Souter (he is a sprightly 69).
So there will be openings, no doubt. Whoever he appoints, President Obama will shift the dynamic of the court at a time of dynamic change in our country. These will be among the most important decisions of his presidency in a presidency that will be chock full of them.
Still, the appointments are for life, and at least for now, there is no vacancy. For her part, Justice Ginsburg has never missed a day of work due to illness since her appointment in 1993, including when she was battling colon cancer 10 years ago. I have met Justice Ginsburg. She is a tiny woman, but she is tough. And I will pray for her a speedy recovery.
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