- Lech Kaczynski, the president of Poland, died early this morning in a plane crash near Smolensk, along with 88 others. Kaczynski has been the most consistently strong voice for freedom in Eastern Europe in recent years and has actively and successfully resisted some of the mischief emanating from Moscow. The purpose of his trip makes the death especially bitter, as he was traveling to the area for an observance of the 70th anniversary of one of the great atrocities of World War II, the massacre of some 20,000 Polish prisoners of war at Katyn. It's a horrible thing all the way around.
- Meanwhile, John Paul Stevens has announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. Stevens, like David Souter and Harry Blackmun, was a Republican appointee who moved the Supreme Court to the left. Gerald Ford put him on the court in 1975 and he's been a reliable leftist vote ever since. President Obama will certainly name someone who is equally reliably leftist to replace him, so his departure won't necessarily move the needle much. The better question is what Obama will do -- will he appoint someone who won't cause a fight (like, say, Elena Kagan) or someone who will (like his buddy Cass Sunstein). Given the way things played out with the Obamacare vote, it's possible that he might go with someone like Sunstein -- if the composition of Congress changes substantially in 2011, there would be no chance for a true theoretician like Sunstein to get through, so the time might be now. Place your bets in the comments section. Meanwhile, this list of contenders that the Washington Post has put together has a really good punchline at the end. Really good. It's worth clicking the link to find out.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
News of the World
Two big stories yesterday: