The big news today is the two announced retirees, Bart Stupak who announced he’s retiring from Congress and Justice John Paul Stevens who is stepping down from the Supreme Court.
On the Stevens story the Associated Press reports:
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the court’s oldest member and leader of its liberal bloc, says he is retiring. President 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.
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His announcement Friday in Washington had been hinted at for months. It comes 11 days before his 90th birthday.
Stevens was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Ford in 1975. Speculation about his replacement had already begun in earnest when hired just one law clerk last summer instead of the usual four. AP reports:
The timing of his announcement leaves ample time for the White House to settle on a successor and Senate Democrats, who control 59 votes, to conduct confirmation hearings and a vote. Republicans have not ruled out an attempt to delay confirmation.
The leading candidates to replace Stevens are Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49, and federal appellate Judges Merrick Garland, 57, and Diane Wood, 59.
Meanwhile Bart Stupak, in a message to his constituents, does not cite threats to himself and his family as a reason, but does claim credit for his work on the healthcare reform bill without ever mentioning the controversy around abortion or his own amendment.
Last month, we finally accomplished what I set out to do 18 years ago – we passed comprehensive national health care reform.
I’m proud to have helped bring it across the finish line for an important reason – it will significantly improve the health and prosperity of our Michigan families.
32 million more Americans, including 38,000 people living in Northern Michigan, will now have health insurance.
And of course he pulls out the old trope of “spending more time with his family.”
But, now it is time for me to spend a little more time with my wife of 36 years, Laurie, whose love and commitment has sustained me through the years, with my son, Ken, and his family and with my extended family and friends.
The Tea Party is claiming success for forcing Bart Stupak to retire. Fox News reports:
The Tea Party Express credited its influence on Friday in “defeating” Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak–a key target of the conservative activists who barreled into his district a day earlier to rally against him.
“The surprising announcement that Congressman Bart Stupak is abandoning his campaign for reelection shows the power of the tea party movement,” the group’s political director, Bryan Shroyer, said in a statement.
“Stupak was no longer able to hide his betrayal of conservative principles because the tea party movement was determined to educate the voters in the district,” he said.
In Other News
A Chicago nun who on Tuesday wanted to point out that being “pro-choice” is not the same as being “pro-abortion” seems to have been chastised to take the Catholic Church’s line on this issue. The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
The Chicago nun who oversees the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Racial Justice is apologizing for a comment she made making a distinction between being “pro-abortion” and “pro-choice.”
Now, the archdiocese has posted a statement from [Sister Anita Baird] on its Web site in which she renounces her previous comments.
“I am affirming my belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church and understand that there can be no distinction between pro-abortion and pro-choice because the choice at issue is the choice to kill a child,” Baird said. “I also apologize to those who were scandalized by my statement.”
April 9, 2010
Crisis pregnancy centers that don’t offer abortions, birth control will have Austin American-Statesman
Anti-abortion activist jailed Daily Gleaner
The Hush on Abortion In These Times
DA’s sex ed warning befuddles Wis. teachers, kids Washington Post
April 8, 2010
Chicago nun: Sorry for ‘pro-abortion’ vs. ‘pro-choice’ comment Chicago Sun-Times
Fake abortion-kit mailings postmarked in Carol Stream Suburban Life Publications
Abortion Debate Heats Up In Statehouses Portfolio.com
Kansas abortions fall by 11% BP News
Pawlenty declares April as Abortion Recovery Month Minnesota Public Radio
State House Argues Over Abortion Funding In Federal Health Care Overhaul Nashville Public Radio
Abortion and gay marriage new hot-button issues in Mexico Public Radio International
Zaun pulls out of event organized by anti-abortion activist Iowa Independent
Court sets May 20 hearing on abortion initiative Juneau Empire