The New York Times is reporting that President Obama will nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor as Justice David Souter's replacement on the Supreme Court. Sotomayer, currently a judge in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, will (if confirmed by the Senate) be only the third female and the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice. Tom Goldstein of SCOTUSblog predicted Sotomayer as one of Obama's three most likely candidates back in January.
NPR is reporting that Supreme Court Justice David Souter will retire at the end of the current Court term, pending the approval of a replacement to be appointed by President Obama. Appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, Souter's replacement will presumably maintain the balance of ascribed "left-leaning" to "right-leaning" justices at 4-5, but will increase the number of justices on the bench appointed by a Democratic president to 3. At 69, Souter is in fact the youngest of the so-called "left-leaning" justices currently on the bench.
The Supreme Court has upheld the federal ban on "Partial-Birth Abortion," in a 5-4 decision. The federal ban provides no exceptions for the health of the mother, the reason previous Courts overturned the law. Justice Kennedy argued the law banning the procedure should stay, as opponents "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases." In a scathing dissent, Justice Ginsburg alluded to the politics of recent judicial appointments, noting "...the Court's defense of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court -- and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives. A decision of the character the Court makes today should not have staying power."
The U.S. Supreme Court has just ruled President Bush overstepped his authority in creating military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees. The 5-3 vote (Roberts recused himself) found the "military commissions" illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva Convention. More from SCOTUSblog.
O'Connor steps down. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has announced her retirement.
Three Supreme Court Justices publicy oppose executing teenage criminals. In a rare move, Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, and Stevens made a public statement in a delay request to state their opposition to executing someone who committed murder before the age of 18. With the Court already banning the execution of the mentally retarded this year, is this another sign of a soon-to-be next step in the abolishment of the death penalty? Or does the average American still believe that regardless of what time, when you do the crime you walk the line?