Like many in the country, I was surprised to hear that Justice Souter decided to retire. I'm sure most folks had their money on Justice Ginsburg. Personally, a Scalia retirement would be a most welcome development, but I digress. Now the games begin.
I think that BHO will be looking really closely at Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. It was interesting listening to Pat Buchanan yesterday ask essentially, if BHO will go for merit (read straight white guy) or identity (read everybody else). It was quite tiresome to watch him present his point as though the two are mutually exclusive, as though there really is no way for a woman or a minority of any sort to ever qualify based on merit. Justice Thomas, of course, receives a pass, because his point of view is painfully similar to Buchanan's.
Buchanan on Hardball
I am perfectly comfortable saying that it is definitely time for an Hispanic to be named to the SCOTUS (this could be his moment, like Johnson's with his naming Thurgood Marshall). Someone like Judge Sotomayor will have a perspective from which the SCOTUS will benefit, and she will fall squarely into BHO's call for someone who has a brilliant legal mind, but who will also have the ability to look beyond just legal theories in his/her understanding of the Constitution. Though many conservatives seem unwilling to admit it, one's personal perspective does indeed inform one's approach to judicial decision making (read any dissent regarding gay rights issues from Scalia).
I think that BHO will have another shot at shaping the Court before his time is done. It is wonderful that we will have the benefit of a POTUS who understands intimately the benefit of diversity. Our country, in the end, will be better for it.