Last week, Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he will retire from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term, giving President Obama his second Supreme Court vacancy to fill. Today, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) urged Obama not to select “someone that is so activist,” while Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that Republicans could filibuster “if the president picks someone from the fringe or somone who applies their feelings instead of applying the law.” On ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will criticized conservatives for saying that they want judges who will strictly follow the law while simultaneously cheering decisions that overturn the work of elected officials:
There’s another test, and it’s wielded by my conservatives, and I think it’s mistaken. And that is, they say they’re against judicial activism. By which they mean they want the court to defer to the elected political branches of government. But if you look at what’s happened recently, the decision that most outraged conservatives was the Kelo decision on eminent domain. … The court did defer to the city government in Connecticut and it enraged conservatives. The recent decision that most pleased conservatives — Citizens United, overturning part of McCain-Feingold — was the court not deferring to the Senate.
Cokie Roberts noted, “that’s very relevant right now, because you have these 14 states’ attorneys general, saying that they want to overturn, the court to overturn the recently passed health care law.”