RachelWatch: Lone Justice

Today: Mint juleps and the Gregory Brothers

New Washington, Old Politics

Supreme Court Justice David Souter announced his retirement, which immediately caused two frenzies of action.

The first is among Rachel and friends, who are going all-out nerdcore speculating on Obama’s pick to replace Souter.

The second is among the conservative movement, which has basically just been served a big, steaming bowl of virgin’s blood. Conservative leaders make so much hay from judicial confirmations that some Republicans have announced their opposition to Obama’s choice before he has even made one. Really.

MSNBC political analyst Craig Crawford joined Rachel to talk about the odd pressure on Democrats to choose conservative justices and the pressure on Republican presidents to choose even more conservative justices.

Though both are outspoken political commentators, neither Crawford nor Rachel would admit how much fun it is to say “Obama nominee.”

One More Thing:

Judge Souter is known for staying low-tech. Among other modern gadgets he has happily forsaken, Souter doesn’t own a TV.

Rachel was at last in a position to give someone else an update on just enough pop culture. Assuming the carrier pigeon makes it to him.

What Happened to Putting Flower Baskets on People’s Doors?

I’m sure Rachel didn’t really need to remind us all that May 1 was Loyalty Day, which is the Freedom Fries of dates. We celebrate it because May Day, a worker’s holiday, sounded too Communist for Godfearing Americans.

President Obama, per tradition, issued a Loyalty Day proclamation. Which is just what you’d expect a wily secret Socialist to do.

Critical Decision

There is talk — disputed by some — that the Justice Souter was so shocked and disillusioned by the Supreme Court’s partisan decision regarding the recount for the 2000 Presidential election, and has never felt the same way about the Court. That just makes me want to hug him. Or put him in some special wildlife preserve for idealists.

Jeffrey Rosen, author of The Supreme Court, joined Rachel to discuss Souter, his effect on subsequent Supreme Court nominees, and what the likely shortlist of Obama nominees (Hee!) might look like.

Ms. Information

Just in case everyone was sleeping too well, Rachel caught us up on the latest technical difficulties with the Indian Point nuclear reactor, which hasn’t been inspected since 1973. A burst pipe spurted out 100,000 gallons of water deep underground.

Swine flu, hell. I’ll save my panic for the giant, glowing ants.

There has been yet another anonymous multimillion dollar donation to a college with a female president, this time the University of Alaska at Anchorage.

Usually anonymous donations to schools are only kinda sorta anonymous, but in this case not even college officials know, and the donations are made under the condition that no one try to find out who the donor is.

STOP TAKING THESE DONATIONS! Do I have to spell it out? A donor with vast resources and an appreciation for organization and female leadership? These are donations from the Great Ant Empire!

Sure, it seems like a good deal at first — you can replenish the library and save on power while everyone studies by the gentle radioactive glow. But when they force a curriculum that focuses on aphid husbandry and the new P.E. requirement involves hauling six times your own weight in leaf cuttings, don’t come crying to me.

Rachel Re: Banner Day

George Bush gave his “Mission Accomplished” speech six years ago Friday. As you may have heard, there are perhaps still one or two loose ends to tie up.

Rachel is real smart and real mad. She would like a word.

GOP in Exile

In the midst of real and immediate economic, military, environmental, and diplomatic crises, far-right Republicans continue to fight the imaginary Red Menace. Representative Joe Barton (R- Texas), for example, compared the college football bowl game system to Communism.

Please. College football is not Communist. Parachute games are where the Communism is.

Rachel at the Races

Rachel introduced us to a 3-year-old “superfilly” called Rachel Alexandra. I’m pretty fond of that name myself. Rachel Alexandra won The Kentucky Oaks, and then Rachel Maddow won drinks by Dale DeGroff.

It’s good to see each Rachel happy and in her element.

Cocktail Moment

What’s that? You can’t stop watching that last Gregory Brothers clip? You’re in luck. Three quarters of the group, Evan, Michael, and Sarah, dropped by the studio to chat with Rachel and introduce a new piece of autotuned deliciousness.

It’s a review of Obama’s first 100 days that will eat up your next two days. Have fun.