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John Paul Stevens is retiring

April 9, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) – Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the court’s oldest member and leader of its liberal bloc, says he is retiring. President Barack Obama now has his second high court opening to fill.

Stevens says he will step down when the court finishes its work for the summer in late June or early July.

His announcement Friday in Washington had been hinted at for months. It comes 11 days before his 90th birthday.


Stevens’ departure will not change the court’s conservative-liberal split because Obama is certain to name a liberal-leaning replacement. But the new justice is not likely to be able to match Stevens’ ability to marshal narrow majorities in big cases.

It would have been better if he had been stubborn and held on until Obama was out of office but I’ll take what I can get. Unfortunately his replacement is likely to be on the bench for 50 years messing things up.



Bart Stupak is also retiring. Yet another hint that Health Care reform is unpopular?

Learning lessons from Greece

But what are the lessons for America? Of course, we should be fiscally responsible. What that means, however, is taking on the big long-term issues, above all health costs — not grandstanding and penny-pinching over short-term spending to help a distressed economy.

Equally important, however, we need to steer clear of deflation, or even excessively low inflation. Unlike Greece, we’re not stuck with someone else’s currency. But as Japan has demonstrated, even countries with their own currencies can get stuck in a deflationary trap.

What worries me most about the U.S. situation right now is the rising clamor from inflation hawks, who want the Fed to raise rates (and the federal government to pull back from stimulus) even though employment has barely started to recover. If they get their way, they’ll perpetuate mass unemployment. But that’s not all. America’s public debt will be manageable if we eventually return to vigorous growth and moderate inflation. But if the tight-money people prevail, that won’t happen — and all bets will be off.

As I understand Friedman’s “Monetary History of the United States” that is exactly what happened in the Great Depression. A slight recovery began money supply was tightened and the economy crashed again. (That’s extremely simplified because obviously I am not an economist)

You know I have to say this about Paul Krugman. He is a giant pain in the butt, but he is also a great teacher because in order to rebut him you have to dig. Or on the rare occasions that you (I) agree with him, you have to dig to justify your agreement. If only that power could be bottled and used to get people thinking about the economy on a day to day basis.

Generic Ballot Points Toward Possible 50+ Seat Loss for Democrats

We can hope but with 7 months to the election I’m doubtful about it being that big a swing.

Rumor that Barney Franks may retire

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