Ya come down to this


by Jeff Fecke | April 30, 2009 • If I were going to bet on the first Supreme Court vacancy during the Obama Administration, I wouldn’t have bet on this guy:

Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter plans to retire, U.S. media reported on Thursday, a development that would give President Barack Obama his first chance to make an appointment to the court

NBC News and National Public Radio cited unidentified sources in reports that Souter, considered one of the court’s liberal members, would step down. A spokeswoman for the Supreme Court said Souter “has no comment on these reports that he is planning to resign.”

Souter has been my favorite justice since his opinion in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., which made it easier to create parodies of songs. In the case, Souter held that ”even if 2 Live Crew’s copying of the original’s [”Oh, Pretty Woman” by Roy Orbison] first line of lyrics and characteristic opening bass riff may be said to go to the original’s ‘heart,’ that heart is what most readily conjures up the song for parody, and it is the heart at which parody takes aim.”

Yes, Souter noted the necessity of a goood bass riff to the character of a song.

Souter has ruled on the side of the angels more often than not, including authoring a dissent in Bush v. Gore. He’s turned out to be one of the court’s most consistently moderate-to-liberal members, something made all the more pleasant as he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush.

A Souter vacancy won’t change much on the court; presumably, Obama will nominate a moderate-to-liberal jurist to replace him, and the balance of power will remain 5-4 to the conservatives. Still, it’s good that Arlen Specter defected when he did; assuming that Obama’s appointment comes this summer, Sen.-elect Al Franken, DFL-Minn., should be seated, and the Democrats should have no problem confirming Obama’s pick.

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