And away we go. The AP reports today that Justice John Paul Stevens, the longest-serving and oldest member of the Supreme Court, will retire at the end of this session. His departure provides Barack Obama an opportunity to make his second pick for the court, but it won’t have any immediate impact on the court’s ideological balance:
This will give Democrats an even bigger headache heading into the midterms, especially in the Senate. They just passed a massive government overhaul of health care that was deeply unpopular with voters. If Obama picks a radical jurist along the lines of a Dawn Johnsen or Harold Koh, Republicans will use that against every Democratic Senate incumbent in a year that already looks bad for them.