U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement last week providing President Obama with his second opportunity to put another liberal on the highest court in the land.
When Obama says his nominee will be “someone who, like Justice Stevens, knows that in a democracy powerful interests must not be allowed to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens,” don’t forget it was liberals Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer who decided against the property rights of “ordinary citizens” in Kelo vs. City of New London.
The Court led by its liberal wing said the City of New London had the right to seize an individual’s property against their will not for public use but for the private financial gain of big-money property developers. Stevens wrote the majority opinion.
With Republicans holding an all-important 41 votes in the Senate thanks to the election of Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) in the special election last fall, liberal Democrats including Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) are out in force calling a filibuster of a judicial nominee “irresponsible.”
“Actually, that’s the lazy person’s way out,” Leahy told NBC yesterday. “The American people pay us and elect us to vote yes or no, not to vote maybe. Every time you have a filibuster, you’re saying, ‘I’m not going to vote yes or no; I’m going to vote maybe.’ That’s irresponsible.”
Yet 24 Democrats including Leahy, President Obama and Vice President Biden all supported a filibuster of the nomination of Justice Samuel Alito to the Court.
“Well, I will be supporting the filibuster because I think Judge Alito, in fact, is somebody who is contrary to core American values, not just liberal values,” then Sen. Obama told ABC on January 29, 2006.
“If there is any possibility of keeping [Judge Alito] off the bench, I would support [a filibuster], because of his vast, vast expansive view of the president’s power,” then Sen. Biden told CNN on January 27, 2006.
Even Leahy himself got into the action in his January 30, 2006, “Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy on Nomination of Samuel A. Alito, Jr., to be an Associate Justice of Supreme Court of the United States.”
“Filibusters of judicial nominees and in particular of Supreme Court nominees are hardly something new,” Leahy said.