The Republican majority in the US Senate have made clear that they will not hold hearings, or in any fashion, consider the nomination of anyone selected by President Barack Obama to replace Associate Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, leaving the membership at eight for over 400 days, until a new President has been inaugurated and chosen a successor.
There is not much that can be done about this in reality, except that it should convince those who support the Democrats to come out in droves and insure that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders is elected President.
It is, certainly, another issue in the campaign for the national elections, and since Republicans are split around Donald Trump, it gives an advantage to the Democrats, if only they can convince voters not to sit home, when either Hillary or Bernie lose the Presidential nomination to the other over the next few months.
But Barack Obama could put the Republicans in a box if he were to nominate a former member of the Supreme Court, chosen by Ronald Reagan, to return to her seat which she gave up ten years ago, not because of her own health, but because her husband had Alzeheimers, and she wanted to take care of him.
Were it not for that, O’Connor, with 25 years on the Court, could be close to the all time record of service of Justice William O. Douglas, who served 36 years from 1939-1975. Her age is not an issue, as Justice John Paul Stevens was on the Court until age 90 and Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes a few months older but still age 90.
Yes, O’Connor will be 86, but she would be capable of serving for a year, and her record shows she would be a balancing influence, much like Justice Anthony Kennedy, not a certainty to vote with conservatives or with liberals on the Court.
This way, she would be able to help the Court do its work, serve her country, and leave after a new President made his or her appointment shortly after inauguration.
One can be sure that O’Connor would do her duty for her country, as she is highly honored already. And Associate Justice Charles Evans Hughes came back to the Court as Chief Justice 14 years after leaving the Court in 1916.
So the best solution is for Obama to request that O’Connor agree to return, and it will put the Republicans in an awkward situation if they refuse to allow it!