ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: With the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens, President Obama will now make his second selection for the Supreme Court — against a vastly different political backdrop than he enjoyed a year ago. Whereas Obama got to fill his first vacancy in the afterglow of his inauguration, his second vacancy comes in the run-up to a mid-term election. In short, the political landscape of 2010 is nothing like it was in 2009. Both Republicans and Democrats are viewing the vacancy as an opportunity to fire up their bases for the fall. Almost regardless of whom the president selects for the high court, expect a fierce and protracted battle that will drain resources and energy from other fights. We chatted about it the political impact of Stevens’ retirement on ABC’s “Top Line” today with Chris Cillizza, author of “The Fix” blog at Washingtonpost.com.
Cillizza pointed out that Supreme Court confirmation battles — and they’re all battles in the modern era — have a tendency to “blot out the sun.” So good luck finding some daylight on other major legislative initiatives for the foreseeable future. Our “Top Line” question of the day today: Should the present play it safe in naming a Stevens replacement? Or is that even possible — is there anyone he could pick who would get wide GOP support? A typical response, from @byelin: “No, there isn't. Lesson of the past year: ceding ground to GOP doesn't gain Dems any votes.” Watch our “Top Line” segment with Chris Cillizza HERE.