President Obama could get an opportunity to fill as many as two vacancies on the Supreme Court if Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg announce retirement this spring for age and health reasons, according to an ABC News report.
The network said lawyers for Obama are “working behind the scenes” to prepare for that possibility.
If a vacancy or vacancies develop, it is unclear whether Obama could nominate replacements who would vote in a liberal way on ideological matters as consistently as Justice Stevens and Justice Ginsburg, due to increasingly partisan confirmation politics. Stuart Taylor of the National Journal told ABC News:
“The most important thing that has changed is the downward spiral of partisanship in judicial nominations. It’s reached a point where either party is going to make a fight on almost anyone unless the candidate is displeasing to the base of the president’s party.”
To learn more about the role of partisanship in judicial confirmation battles, visit Justice at Stake’s issues page.