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Justice and Bipartisanship

With the looming retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Souter, President Obama has another opportunity to court true bipartisanship.  (no pun intended)  The detractors to bipartisanship will say that the Democrats won the 2008 Presidential election, and to the victor, the spoils.  Indeed.  The victory certainly provides President Obama the right to nominate whomever he chooses.  But there remain two important considerations, among others.  

First, the next U.S. Supreme Court nominee will need to pass scrutiny in the Senate.  The Democrats control the Senate, and have an even stronger influence on the Senate Judiciary Committee with the addition of Arlen Specter to the party.  However, Supreme Court nominations are closely watched and heartily debated on both sides of the political spectrum.  
Second, if President Obama stifles conservative input on the nomination and confirmation process, bipartisanship will be proven a mirage.  This will have a negative impact on public opinion and involve some political capital cost to the President.  Especially if the issue provides the Republicans with additional ammunition to chip away at the Democrat majority in 2010.

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