Tuesday, July 10, 2018
The bleak reality for liberals is that the furious response to Souter’s tenure fueled a political response from conservatives with an energy and determination that did not wane for three decades. It led to a steadily growing conviction that the shape of the Supreme Court, and the impact such a court would have for a generation, more than justified a vote for a candidate who, in earlier times, might have been happily abandoned. It meant that any tactic to protect a conservative Supreme Court—even denying a president with almost a year left in his term the right to a hearing on a nominee—was justified by the stakes. It led to a Trump administration pushing—and succeeding—to put a record number of federal appeals judged on the bench, with a Senate Republican majority abandoning traditions like the “blue slip” rule, which required at least one home state senator, regardless of party, to approve a judicial nominee.
Jeff overstates his case, but that's what pundits do. Now that David Souter is off the court, I can confess a soft spot for him. Evidently he's spending his retirement in the NH mountains, reading books and taking long hikes. He's said not to miss being on the Court one little bit, which I find easy to believe.