The Strategic Dilemma of Justice Sotomayor’s Potential Retirement

Discussions about the famously progressive Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s potential retirement have Democrats worried about the future balance of the U.S. Supreme Court and the upcoming presidential election

Justice Sotomayor – The Truth Teller

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the first Latina on the U.S. Supreme Court and has been recognized for her significant contributions and progressive stances during her tenure.

Justice Sotomayor has also made a name for herself by dissenting from other court justices in several critical cases. These cases brought attention to voting rights issues, unreasonable searches, and the perceived politicization of the Court’s decisions.

Since beginning her tenure as Supreme Court Justice, Sotomayor’s willingness to stand for what she believes in has earned her several notable nicknames, like “the conscience of the Supreme Court,” “the truth-teller of the Supreme Court,” and “the real liberal queen of the court.” 

Surviving the Stench

When challenging other Supreme Court Justices, Sotomayor is quoted as saying, “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the constitution and its reading are just political acts?”

However, the potential for a shift in the Senate’s control with the upcoming presidential election has sparked discussions among Democrats and left-leaning activists about the strategic importance of Sotomayor retiring. 

The concerns surrounding Justice Sotomayor’s retirement stem from the belief that her retirement could have the same consequences as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.

Shifting the Balance

After Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, a new conservative Supreme Court Justice took her place and shifted the balance of the court to have a conservative majority. Justice Sotomayor is nearly 70 years old and has been managing Type 1 diabetes since childhood, so her health and ability to continue serving on the Supreme Court have come under question.

Even though 70 may sound old to maintain a position on the United States’s highest court, the average age of retirement for a Supreme Court Justice is actually 80.

If Justice Sotomayor wants to reach the average retirement age for Supreme Court Justices, she will need to stay on the bench for an additional ten years and potentially serve three more presidential terms.

Maintaining Power

Due to the United States’ tense political landscape, finding a new Justice creates a serious dilemma for Democrats hoping to maintain power in the Supreme Court. A Justice nominee who meets progressive expectations will likely face serious opposition in a narrowly divided Senate, and any nominee with a real chance of being confirmed may not meet the left’s expectations.

Now, Democrats are stuck weighing their options, as they must choose between risking a conservative successor appointed by a possible Republican president, Donald Trump, or securing a liberal justice’s replacement during Biden’s term.

In an interview with CNN, Paul Campos, a law professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, discussed the strategic concerns surrounding Sotomayor’s staying on the bench.

Campos said, “I think Sonia Sotomayor is a great Supreme Court justice, but I definitely think she ought to announce that she is stepping down from the Court this summer because the fact is that…there is a very significant possibility that Joe Biden will not be able to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court during his second term because of Republican control of the Senate.”

Campos then went on to say, “There’s also a significant possibility that Donald Trump will be able to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court if he were to be reelected president and the GOP controls the Senate.”

Isn’t Worth the Risk

Campos concluded his statement, “The chance that one or both of those things will happen is so high that it just simply isn’t worth it to take that kind of a risk…It would really be in the public’s best interest for her to do a very statesmanlike thing and step down from the Court rather than running this risk, which would be a completely catastrophic development.”

American Journalist Josh Barro echoed Campos’s sentiment by highlighting how easy it would be for Democrats to secure an easy victory if Sotomayor were to retire from her position. Barro wrote, “If Sotomayor retires now, Biden could nominate her replacement, ‘confirmation of the new justice will be a slam dunk, and liberals will have successfully shored up one of their seats on the court.'”

The post The Strategic Dilemma of Justice Sotomayor’s Potential Retirement first appeared on Swift Feed.

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