Justice David Souter plans to retire from the Supreme Court, said the Associated Press in USA Today, "but his departure is unlikely to change its conservative-liberal split." Replacing Souter will give President Obama his first chance to select a new justice, but his pick "is likely to be a liberal-leaning nominee, much like Souter."
"Souter has been a terrible justice," said Ed Whelan in National Review, but Obama's nominee will be "even worse." The president's "record and rhetoric" indicate he'll appoint a liberal activist like Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, or Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor, or Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Wood, "a fervent activist" whose extreme abortion decisions have been overwhelmingly slapped down by the Supreme Court.
Obama will have to wage "a massive campaign-style fight" to sell his nominee, said Chris Cillizza in The Washington Post. The GOP might have trouble mustering opposition due to the "current morass" in which it finds itself. But with so many other crises still boiling over, Obama's ability to handle numerous "major challenges all at once" will be tested by the campaign to fill the Souter vacancy.