With Ginsburg successfully replaced by Amy Coney Barrett on the US Supreme Court, let’s speculate on who will go next. We all knew that Ginsburg would hold on until a Democrat occupied the White House to name her replacement, but the Grim Reaper- or good fortune- changed all that. Not to sound callous, but this “icon” that spurred RBG Halloween costumes and promises of donated organs to keep her useless carcass on the Court had long gone past her expiration date like molding cheese on the grocery shelf.
Going in reverse order of seniority, first up is Amy Coney Barrett, age 48, and going nowhere. Her record on the Court is, of course, sparse to non-existent thus far. The one thing this writer fears is that hopes are initially high about so-called conservative appointments that seem to morph into disappointments over time. But the Left expended a lot of energy and hyperbole against her, so there must be something there. Being a woman and having been attacked over their treatment of her religious views in her Seventh Circuit appointment’s confirmation hearings, she got off relatively easy. Time will tell with her. That is “easy” compared to…
Next up, Brett Kavanaugh, age 55. Not since the Clarence Thomas hearings was the Left so disgusting, portraying him as a gang rapist and lending scrutiny to high school yearbook postings about his friend’s use of phrases to describe farts. Sheldon Whitehouse even had big, glossy blow-ups of the offending “memories.” In his first term, I likened him to a mini-John Roberts of sorts and was wary of him. Time will tell if those worries are justified. He replaced Kennedy who was considered the swing vote and, on balance, Obergfell notwithstanding, Kennedy slanted to the Right (Heller, Citizens United, Obamacare). Whether Kavanaugh fancies himself the next “swing vote” with a little for everyone here and there remains to be seen. This last term, he often broke from under the yoke of Roberts, so there is promise. In any case, he’s not going anywhere.
Neal Gorsuch is only 53. There may be a decision here and there that raises the eyebrows of conservatives, but on the whole he seems to get it right. His questioning and opinions are usually airtight. Overall, a fine conservative addition. He will be around for a bit also.
At age 60, Elena Kagan comes next in seniority. This may surprise some conservatives and even though she is in the liberal wing of the Court, sometimes her questioning and opinions are surprising. To this writer, she at least tries- to varying degrees- to see the argument from both sides. It is probably just perception and gas-lighting. There may be minimal hope for her yet, but despite it all, given her age, she’ll be around for a while.
Sonia Sotomayor- the original wise Latina from the Bronx before AOC- is 66 and a walking medical record suffering from obvious obesity problems probably brought on by her Type-I diabetes. She may also be the most liberal-with-an-agenda member of the Court. In a way, RBG thought of herself of having to be that person. Sotomayor is the epitome of that person…which explains her obvious stupidity. With Biden as president, the medical time clock is kicking. If not Breyer, then this hulk of a woman making Stacey Abrams looking almost svelte is a likely candidate for early retirement.
After her comes Samuel Alito, who perhaps other than Thomas is the most consistently conservative member of the Court. The problem is he is 70. However, unlike Jabba the Hut from the Bronx, he has no medical issues. He isn’t going anywhere as long as there is a Democrat in the White House. The only thing removing him from the Court is a John Brennan-directed hit team, but they’ll probably fail in that task.
Stephen Breyer- the most pompous-ass member of the Court- is 82. That is usually around the time a person retires from the Court if the political stars align and a Democrat occupies the White House. Assuming Sotomayor doesn’t kick the can after imbibing some of Nancy Pelosi’s designer ice cream first, my money is that he will be the next retirement. Seriously… listen to the audio of any oral argument. He is increasingly using that time-honored Supreme Court phrase, “yada dada.”
Clarence Thomas is 72 which would put him on the cusp of retirement. Had Trump won in 2020- given Trump’s three previous appointments- he may have given it some thought, but not now. He has been steadfast in his commitment not to retire regardless of who won in 2020. One good side effect of the Wuhan virus thing is hearing his voice and pointed questions during oral argument. Granted, sometimes he has nothing to ask of anyone, but he does seem to draw out the logical inconsistencies of the Left’s arguments. Besides, sits on the throne of Scalia and he relishes the role. Or, was it the other way around all along?
Finally, there is John Roberts- perhaps the biggest disappointment since…well, David Souter, which was not that long ago. Wonder what Souter is doing now? Is he dressed up as “mother” rocking in the attic window on some hill in New Hampshire? But I digress…
Roberts is 65- still young by most standards. However, he does have some medical issues. He has twice suffered seizures requiring hospitalization, the most recent in 2007. Some have speculated that he suffers from epilepsy. Whatever the condition, if any, Roberts is not going anywhere any time soon. He relishes his role of Chief Justice fashioning himself as the self-anointed guardian of the integrity of the judicial system and the Supreme Court. He seemed to get a kick out of twisting laws to get a desired result and poking Trump in the eye with legalese: “well, you can, but you just went about it the wrong way, so you can’t.”
Roberts, given his position, is probably the most dangerous member of the Court right now for conservatives. There is no consistency to his decisions and who he sides with on cases. As Chief Justice, he wields power in the assignment of cases and Circuits. Watch to see where he falls on major cases of interest to conservatives and whether he lends his two cents or simply hides behind siding with the opinion. His silence in many cases shows him for the shallow, weakling jurist he turned out to be. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), he isn’t going away since Biden would name his replacement as Chief Justice. I think he has just enough “Republican” left in him to wait out a Democrat administration- be it four or eight years.
To conclude, the two most likely to go will be Breyer and/or Sotomayor. The good news? Biden replaces one liberal for another liberal. Worst case scenario: Alito, Thomas, Barrett and Kavanaugh take a ride in the countryside and their car stalls on the railroad tracks as a speeding train blindsides them.
PS: John Brennan is the train conductor.