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Sen. Arlen Specter has high hopes for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

Years ago, I mentally created a file called "Who Asked Him?" in which I lodged presumptuous comments by public officials and others. I just deposited Sen. Arlen Specter's suggestion that Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens not retire at the end of this term, despite Stevens' own media blitz suggesting that his days, and dissents, are numbered.

Not that we asked, but Specter (D-Pa.) told Fox News that he hopes Stevens won't step down this year because "gridlock in the Senate might well produce a filibuster, which will tie up the Senate with the Supreme Court nominee." He added, apparently in a rejection of the conventional wisdom that his former Republican Party will pick up seats this year: "I think that if a year passes, there is a much better chance we can come to a consensus." To quote Specter's preferred vote in the Clinton impeachment trial, that theory is "not proven."

Cynics would suggest that Specter himself doesn't want to be tied up by a Supreme Court confirmation at a time he is seeking reelection, the first time as a Democrat. Or maybe from the viewpoint of an 80-year-old senator, a 90-year-old Supreme Court Justice is just hitting his prime.

-- Michael McGough


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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