SCOTUS A Go Go

images5.thumbnail.jpegTime waits for no one, and it won’t wait for President-Elect Barack Obama. Poor man doesn’t even have his cabinet fleshed out and people are already musing over who his Supreme Court nominees might be. You think maybe some of the robed ones might be saying "But I’m not dead yet!"?

No matter; speculate we must. It’s our duty. Salon gives the set up:

Barack Obama might have as much power to shape a new court as Reagan. Like Reagan, Obama could appoint as many as three justices before Inauguration Day 2013. John Paul Stevens, 88, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, are of retirement age, and Ginsburg is a colon cancer survivor. David Souter, 69, has reportedly expressed an interest in returning to his home in New Hampshire. (Kennedy, who has twice had minor heart procedures, is 72, as is Scalia.)

So will an Obama presidency usher in a new liberal era on the court? The short answer: probably not (and not just because the president-elect’s apparent choice for attorney general, Eric Holder, is one more sign that he does not fear the taint of Clintonism). Since the justices most likely to retire are from the court’s liberal wing, Obama will have less of an opportunity to tilt the court’s ideological orientation. Currently, the court has a rough balance of power, with four conservative justices, four liberal and a swing vote in Justice Kennedy.

"The real question is: Is Obama going to appoint significantly more liberal judges than President Clinton did? Or appoint justices that are center-left like Ginsburg and Breyer?" said Thomas Goldstein, head of the Supreme Court practice for the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.

Obama has not tipped his hand in this regard, but the Senate’s second-most-powerful Republican, John Kyl of Arizona, promised earlier this month to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee that Republicans deem too liberal.

This is a what have you done for me lately world. And Barack Obama not only hasn’t done anything lately for the progressive segment of the citizenry, he has not done anything period.

Salon goes on to delineate a "Top Ten" list of potential Obama Supreme Court picks. A rather uninspiring list in many regards. Let us do our own rundown of potential, and desired, picks for the vacancies that Obama will face.

First though, it should be noted that Democrats, especially progressives, do not have the organized minor league feeder programs, and promotional schemes, like the right wing Federalist Society, nor does the left engage in the relentless seeding and intentional grooming of future justices like the right does. This is not inherently a bad thing, in fact, the institutional indoctrination, dogmatizing, and car salesman like glossy packaging the right injects into the process is quite demeaning and reprehensible to the dignity of the process. Demeaning and reprehensible is not a bug to the right, however, it is a feature.

So, off to the salt mines we go, let’s get to work:

Cass Sunstein: I’ll be honest, since long before he even won the nomination, I have suspected that Barack Obama would appoint his friend, colleague and advisor, Cass Sunstein to the Supreme Court bench. I still feel that he will do just that. It is a singularly horrid choice; he is a dyed in the wool Chicago School drooling idiot. Remember Obama’s FISA cave and lie? This is one of the men behind it and that went out cravenly apologizing and rationalizing it. If Sunstein doesn’t have any more respect for the Constitution than that, he has no place on the final arbitration panel interpreting it. Sunstein is a Constitutional opportunist; he will bend and shape it to fit his own little and petty business centric view of the world. Nuff said; the man is patently unfit. Sunstein is the most likely Obama nominee; he may also be the worst. Oh mamas and papas, no Cass please.

Erwin Chemerinsky: For my money, Erwin Chemerinsky would be an ideal, if not the ideal pick. He is everything that the weasel Sunstein is not. Chemerinsky is principled, consistent, a Constitutional scholar of the highest order, understands that it is critical to proved access and justice for the afflicted and downtrodden as much as for the rich and powerful (something wholly lacking with too many on the Court today), and he is a staunch advocate for the individual liberty, privacy and civil rights that we understand are paramount, including the much neglected as of late Fourth Amendment. One of my friends here at the Lake says of Chemerinsky "we’ll never get him because he’s too outspoken". But yet another says "Too outspoken? And Scalia is a shrinking violet?" The right wingnuts would literally howl, but Erwin Chemerinsky would be s simply breathtaking and outstanding selection. Obama should send hi up to the Hill and then use his muscle to get him though; we need men like Chemerinsky on the Court to counteract the right wingnuts Bush has burrowed into the bench for decades to come.

Senator Russ Feingold: There is not much discussion needed for Russ Feingold, the readers of FDL know him, and his strengths, well. A Feingold on the Court would also provide the unique benefit of interjecting some working knowledge of Congress and the legislative process. There has become a distressing paradigm where the Court punts issues with the hope that Congress will take care of it and vice versa. A healthy dose of insight into the real sausage making of legislation would be a good thing for the SCOTUS collective. Feingold also brings that good old mid-west sensibility and ability to see through issues and problems and see the people affected, which would be an extraordinarily good thing for the bench.

Valerie Jarrett: Since one of the early vacancies is likely to be Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s chair. That means to maintain a female presence on the Court, which likely must and should be done, Obama will have to appoint another woman. Two prominent women that Salon discussed are Elena Kagan and Maria Sotomayor, both currently sitting Federal judges. Quite frankly, both look far too centrist, and actually center right in some aspects, for my taste. I think Obama’s longtime friend and advisor Valerie Jarrett might be a possibility. She is brilliant, a proven calm consensus building type of personality that would be very effective on the Court, and has an incredibly diverse background. She is also related to Vernon Jordan; never discount that factor. As both a woman and a minority, Jarrett could cover two important niches. I would like to know much more about her legal philosophies (although remember blank slates sometimes are better these days to the eye of the idiots in the press and the Senate), but I find her a very intriguing possibility.
Jennifer Granholm and/or Janet Napolitano: Jennifer Granholm is a distinct possibility for an Obama appointment, but not on the first round of two openings that, between Stevens, Ginsberg, Kennedy and Breyer collectively, are bound to come quite quickly, likely perhaps even in the first year. She is governor of Michigan and that state’s former attorney general; however, has no bench experience and, as a Catholic, people would feel free to hit her hard on choice and she might be squishy on things like late term abortion. She’s got to do time at the Circuit, first, which is good, bc our circuit could use some Dems. I would suspect an appointment in the next year to the circuit, putting John Cherry in the Gov’s mansion in time to run as an incumbent in 2010.

Far more likely, would be Janet Napolitano. She has the governorship and attorney general resume entries that Granholm does, but a heck of a lot more experience along the way. Napolitano is well versed and experienced with constitutional law and civil rights, having been mentored as the hand picked protege of one of the country’s great Constitutional scholars and authorities, John P. Frank, one of the two legal fathers of the Miranda decision. And, by the time the nomination might be contemplated, Napolitano would also likely have some experience as DHS Secretary (which may or may not be problematic; time will tell). Janet would be a simply outstanding choice.

Other possibilities mentioned are Harold Hongju Koh, Deval Patrick, Diane Wood, Ruben Castillo, Merrick Garland and Amelia Kearse.

Who do you suggest? Discuss and argue Passionately!

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86 replies
  1. AlbertFall says:

    Leo Strine, Delaware chancery court

    Ungodly bright, fabulously witty in person and in his written opinions, and a tremendous thinker.

    The Delaware Chancery Court deals only with business matters, and influences national corporate and business policies with its decisions.

    From an article a couple years back:

    And yet, as Strine wrote in a law review article last year, “Corporation law is not my primary public passion. Rather, what primarily animates my commitment to public service is the continued worthiness of the liberal vision of a just society.” He believes strongly in the free market — he wouldn’t be sitting on Chancery if he didn’t — but he’s also an unabashed New Deal Democrat who has photographs of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson hanging in his office.

  2. Redshift says:

    Ms. Redshift wants to see him nominate Hillary Clinton to the Supreme Court, just to watch wingnut heads explode everywhere.

  3. Mary says:

    one OT – Brennan has withdrawn his name for intel slots, pointing out that although he was really one of the anti-torture good guys, and that we owe a debt to everyone at the CIA, including torturers, he may be too controversial (since the lack of anyone giving a damn has been way more evident than the *controversy* I have to admit, I’m surprised)
    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com…..88701.aspx

    Re: Sup Ct – is Feingold really under any kind of consideration? I’d love to see him there, but he doesn’t have the kind of “resume” that you usually see from the practice front. He’d be terrific.

    Chemerinsky would be great.

    Sunstein – would be what I’d expect. Not so much great or terrific there.

    I don’t know what kind of resume Mora has and he’d have to recuse on some of the most important torture/war crimes cases, which you wouldn’t want, but that man should get some kind of nod for everything he’s done for this country.
    Same with Koh – he’d be great, but hasn’t he been invovled in GITMO related projects to where he’d have to recuse? I don’t want to have anyone who will leave one less vote on the torture table.

    Deval Patrick is way too much politician IMO.

    I’ll put a thinking cap on.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah Deval Patrick I would hope isn’t under big consideration, but there is a Harvard law tie in, and his classmate Jake Reed will push for him hard.

      Sunstein sucks. Just in case I didn’t make that clear in the post.

      They also gotta be in their mid 50s or younger; we want some longevity

  4. phred says:

    Thanks for the post bmaz. I can’t contribute much to the discussion, since I am not up on legal scholars. FWIW, I’ll echo your sentiments on Sunstein (ick) and Mary’s on Patrick (not bowled over by his performance as Gov to give him any support at all for SCOTUS). Chemerinsky and Feingold would be great… Can’t wait to see who other folks recommend…

  5. LabDancer says:

    bmaz –

    Are we arguing for, or predicting?

    If it’s the latter, except for Chemerinsky they’re all the wrong age, or Obama already has a job for them, or plans; and Chemerinsky won’t happen unless it’s to replace an ideologue, with only Thomas and Scalia being of the bent and age to allow for him.

    If it’s the latter, I’d be willing to bet against any from those mentioned in your post being among the first three.

    If it’s the latter, I’d also similarly bet against anyone who is currently occupying an employment or appointed position in the federal government – and heavily – though I would not bet against one of the three coming from those in the Senate with whom Obama has served there.

    If it’s the latter, I’d look first to a woman who is already serving or who has already served as a judge, with some part of her resume in solid academic work [the less time on the bench the more of the latter], with a clear commitment to marginalized communities, even to the extent of leading a law school based center focussed on something like voting rights, who’s non-white and likely but not necessarily African American. At least 6 such persons have been on Bill Moyers’ show in the last year, and I’d start there.

    If it’s the former, I’m for some one with Breyer’s patience, collegiality and skills in persuasion, and a little more in the way of commitment to the equality ideals in and implied by the Constitution – because without the former the appointee becomes marginalized and ineffective, and without the latter: what’s the point?

    And I’d still start with those that have been on with Moyers. Two of them I know, the rest I’d like to, and any one of them would seem to fit the bill – either bill.

      • LabDancer says:

        Dean Kagan is among the group to which I was referring. I particularly like that she has specialized in administrative law. While those who like to argue from ‘first principles’ get more glory for hooking actions back to the Constitution, by which Congress tends to get shown up, an awful lot more of that approach is necessary to hold the feet of the administration of the day to the fire for frustrating the intentions of Congress. That means, to me in particular but I think more generally to lib-progs, and also to those in favor of that oh so passe concept of adherence to the rule of law, a win-win-win-win-win: the judiciary gets back to being engaged in questions that touch on the reality of American lives; Congress gets back to recognizing its equal importance with the executive; the executive; the executive gets reminded of that other oh so passe concept: checks and balances; injustice gets redressed for the individual aggrieved; and the rest of us get to learn and to point out that government actually works.

        Pluky mentioned Jordan; she’s another in that same group.

        As to Sunstein: while it should come as no surprise that those on the Obama advisor team are under consideration for big appointments, as to his merits, I see him in the same general category as Orin Kerr of Volokh Conspiracy fame. They’re all bright and sharp and “love the law” and actively seek to provoke, and fill an import role in a democratic republic, particularly one dominated by a lazy, unprincipled herd-like press.

        But a lot of them, and I include both Kerr and Sunstein in this, give me the willys for their having such a narrow view of society.

        [I’ll even throw a peace pipe in your direction: Acknowledging the quite different impression they give off, I think image-conscious establishment-power types like Eric Holder can be as bad or worse.]

        Over all I’m with the earlier commenter userloser, who if I understand correctly asserted that until we get 5 women there, the institution is going to continue somewhere between suspect and failed. A generation ago it might have been said there were too few strong female candidates, given how late in the day the law school doors opened to women. That’s simply no longer so; it might actually be that there are more, maybe way more, women than men among the best suited to this role. Hell – if our fearless leader had decided to pick up a law degree back a couple of decades ago, she’d be a great example.

        Leaving aside how many particular points on which I disagree with him, my main objection to Sunstein would be that, in going there, Obama would throwing away a precious opportunity.

  6. Elliott says:

    I predict his first appointment will be a woman, no matter who is beingreplaced. I’ll even go so far as to say it will be Valerie Jarrett.

  7. wilhoit says:

    Appointments cannot be filibustered, right? They get a straight majority vote, unless they don’t even make it out of committee. Kyl’s threat is therefore ridiculous, although I do predict that the Republican Senators will filibuster EVERY action that is subject to cloture — every single one.

  8. cinnamonape says:

    Apparently David Souter just sent out an Exocet in a footnote that has all the lawyers that might present cases that eventually reach up to the SCOTUS wondering about “sponsored scientific studies”.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11…..25bar.html

    Seems that one could call on expert witnesses, but the work that they utilize would have to be independently generated.

  9. pluky says:

    How about Emma Coleman Jordan?
    http://www.law.georgetown.edu/…..038;ID=270

    I saw her being interviewed by Bill Moyers on the attempt to pin the mortgage meltdown on the Community Reinvestment Act. Her stellar performance prompted a little digging on my part. Wow!

  10. UserLoser says:

    I don’t know anything about judges but I do suggest that until there are five women justices that the court is screwed up.

  11. dakine01 says:

    I think you’re correct on Sunstein as the probable first choice (to replace Stevens) or Jarrett if it is Ginzberg.

    My wish list of SCOTUS choices would be however:
    Chemerinsky
    Feingold
    Whitehouse
    HRC (just to see wingnut heads explode as mentioned by others)

    And as I have seen mentioned too rarely, maybe someone who doesn’t have the judicial background knowing that Earl Warren and Thurgood Marshall were pretty damn good justices without having been judges when they were appointed to the court

  12. Hugh says:

    I mentioned Erwin Chemerinsky and Merrick Garland a few days ago. Harold Koh also seems good. Cass Sunstein is a vacuous idiot. Hey, why not Seth Waxman, the lawyer who argued Boumediene?

    As for the Republicans, let them filibuster til they bust is my position. But this would only happen if Harry Reid was not a complete wuss. Sadly he is.

    • MadDog says:

      OT – Per Glenn Greenwald:

      I was invited to discuss Brennan’s withdrawal on tonight’s Rachel Maddow Show, but logistics made that impossible. Instead, Jane Hamsher — who I’m certain will do her typically excellent job — will be on to talk about it. Those interested should be certain to watch Rachel’s show tonight.

          • LabDancer says:

            If we’re going to go with a male celebrity – I’m way against it, but just for fun – why go half-gadfly?

            Barry Scheck, and an end to the death penalty.

            • bmaz says:

              I like Barry a lot. Talked to him a couple of times many years ago about a DNA defense. Wonderful guy. I not sure he could get confirmed. To be honest, I am not sure he would want the job.

        • LabDancer says:

          Page is one of my all-time favorites in the NFL, and has had two remarkable careers and a remarkable life – but have you actually ever read any of the opinions he’s written? Prepare to be underwhelmed.

          • MadDog says:

            As IANAL, no, I’ve not read his opinions. So take my Minnesota-based suggestion with a grain of salt.

            One thing I think Alan Page could indeed do, would be to scare the piss out of Scalia and Thomas, and that might be of sufficient value alone. *g*

  13. Teddy Partridge says:

    Sheldon Whitehouse
    Sherrod Brown
    Jonathan Turley
    Don Siegelman
    Artur Davis
    Debbie Wasserman-Shultz
    Donna Edwards
    Andrew Cuomo
    Chris Dodd

      • MadDog says:

        It also has Ivins documents!

        Stuff like this:

        (2) Use of Personal E-mail to Discuss KKG

        The following will show how Dr. Ivins defines the depths of his obsession and knowledge of the sorority KKG. Additionally, as previously described above, the letters used in the 2001 anthrax mailings were mailed from a blue collection box located at 10 Nassau Street, Princeton, New Jersey. The sorority, I a G , has an office at 20 Nassau Street, Princeton, New Jersey, located on the same side of the street and approximately 60 feet to the right from the blue collection box.

        • MadDog says:

          They even searched Ivins’ friggin’ hospital room???

          …His most recent statement regarding the attacks came three days ago on Wednesday, July 9, 2008. While at a group therapy session in Frederick, Maryland, he revealed to the Licensed Clinical Social Worker and other members of the group that he was a suspect in this investigation. He stated that the was a suspect in the anthrax investigation and that he was angry at the investigators, the government, and the system in general. He said he was not going to face the death penalty, but instead had a plan to kill co-workers and other individuals who had wronged him. He said he had a bullet-proof vest, and a list of co-workers, and added that he was going to obtain a Glock firearm from his son within the next day, because federal agents are watching him and he could not obtain a weapon on his own. Based on these statements, the Social Worker called Frederick, Maryland, police department, and the took custody of Bruce Edwards Ivins on Thursday, July 10, 2008, for a forensic evaluation at Frederick Memorial Hospital. Yesterday, on July 11, 2008, he was transferred to Sheppard-Pratt Hospital, 6501 North Charles Street, Towson, Maryland for further forensic evaluation.

          The Social Worker further related that in addition to the threats articulated at the group session on July 9, 2008, Bruce Edwards Ivins had in the recent past articulated a plan to kill himself, specifically that the intended to use a combination of pills and alchohol to effectuate this plan. She related that he plans everything in careful detail, something consistent with reports from other sources in this investigation, that Bruce Edwards Ivins plans everything very carefully. The Social Worker noted that with respect to the suicide plan, he produced to her a paper from his wallet which contained a precise recipe of pills and alcohol, based on his body weight, to ensure death.

          When Bruce Edwards Ivins was admitted to Sheppard-Pratt Hospital yesterday, his personal effects were inventoried. Among the items he brought with him to the hospital was his wallet, which contained a number of pieces of paper.

          The Task Force submits that a search Subject Room and personal effects may reveal physical or documentary evidence that will assist the investigation into these threats to witnesses related to the anthrax investigation, and obstruction of that investigation. The search is for any writings identifying a plan to kill witnesses or names of intended victims, or any other relevant documents, notes, photographs, and records in various formats, including computer files and other electronic media…

          And oh btw, nothing was found/seized.

          And funny how the Feds knew all about Ivins’ painstakingly detailed suicide planning, and yet Ivins was able to successfully commit suicide through the very same detailed plan the Feds were already aware of and while the Feds had Ivins under total 24×7 surveillance.

  14. jayt says:

    What about Bruce Fein? I know very little about him other than he has argued passionately against Bush’s dismantling of the constitution. That’s very much in his favor, but I don’t know where he’d stand on social issues – I know that he’s a conservative at heart.

    But since, first and foremost, I want my constitution back, and since the R’s wouldn’t attempt to block Fein – whaddya think?

    Turley is still my first choice.

  15. Neil says:

    the Senate’s second-most-powerful Republican, John Kyl of Arizona, promised earlier this month to filibuster any Supreme Court nominee that Republicans deem too liberal.

    Thank god for bi-partisan and post-partisan politics where Democratic presidential-elect chooses centrists and Republicans continue to threaten to obstruct any agenda commonly identified with left of center.

    How many more years of bending over de-legitimacy before left of center is considered a valid position in bi-partisan and post-partisan American?

    Not to worry.

    I’m sure we can count on the gang of 14, and Joe Lieberman in particular, to deep six the filibuster option, right?

    • bobschacht says:

      The Internet was not a factor back then. Maybe now, if the Gang of 14 tried to reconvene, we could roll out some blow-back that might make a difference.

      Bob in HI

  16. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    IMHO the things needed most on the court are people who actually understand how the decisions made affect the real world ie people on the street. We need common sense decisions that take into account the Constitution but also the practical implications of the nuts and bolts of the decision.

  17. Linfalas says:

    I think the first two or three new SCJs should be well qualified women. I believe in my heart (means it’s pure speculation)that Harriet Myers was nominated to disarm a push to replace O’conner with a woman and was never intended to actually take the bench. As a strategy it worked brilliantly.

  18. Mary says:

    The thing about Sunstein and Jarrett are that they will look like such DIRECT political payoffs. I think that is just bad karma in every crevice. As much as I would admire them for the positions taken, I would also not want anyone who has been so involved in torture and unconstitional wiretap issues that they would have to recuse. Turley would be blocked there. I think Lab Dancer laid out a lot of practical issues that would make sense for picking a viable candidate, although I’m not thrilled with the looks of picking a Democratic politician, even out of Congress and with a distinguished record. I think America will be happier with an “off the bench” kick upstairs.

    It looks, too, as if Stevens and Ginsburg may well be the first two to step down, so appointments are a matter of swimming to stay in place, vs. making a dramatic change – so they do need to be young. A stealth Souter would be nice if they can find one. Kagan’s enamored embrace of Goldsmith leaves me pretty damn cold

    • LabDancer says:

      A “stealth Souter”? That’s an oxymoron. If the main importance of the SCOTUS lay in the resolving of ancient admiralty disputes and fine points about residual property right, then he’s the model. Otherwise, not so much.

  19. MadDog says:

    So, Jane was just on Rachel Maddow’s show and as per usual, Jane was scintillatingly on target wrt Brennan and Gates.

    Btw Jane if you are reading this, from the background it looks like you where physically in the same location as John Turley. True?

    And if so, may I suggest you kindly issue him an invitation to stop by The Lake for a blog or two?

  20. Mommybrain says:

    Has anyone mentioned Jerry Brown, current CA AG? He’s been governor,mayor, ran for Pres. and now AG …and he dated Linda Ronstadt.

  21. Petrocelli says:

    If I had a vote, I’d put Rachel Maddow on the SCOTUS … just so that Roberts, Scalia & Thomas
    spontaneously combust …

  22. JohnLopresti says:

    I like U Chi prof Geoff Stone, solid knowledge of constitutional law, more of an engaging interlocutor than colleague on faculty Sunstein, though age may be a factor. I would like to see Chemerinsky build the new lawschool a while more at UCI; the international studies program there includes an interesting advocate, Cecelia Lynch. Susan Crawford has intellect and youth, I believe, at Columbia law. Margaret McGuinness at Univ of MO is another great professor worth evaluation. I would like someone like Joanne Mariner from HRW to be on Scotus. Dahlia probably would laugh if her name was in the mix; it would be in mine; someone with insight and drive. And Ann Arbor’s Ann is probably best left in the ivory tower, where she does a world of good, some of it egalitarian, some piquantly conservative, if one is to believe her subtle rhetoric. I wonder how well Tova Wang would do, although electoral law seems to be her first and foremost arena exclusively. I just find out by reading the papers, though, so the major likely candidates probably will be people about whom I read in the media. I like prof Dean Koh, especially his work on human rights, but wonder how his presence would shift Scotus. I would imagine the long involvement of BObama at UChi opened a lot of doors to information on the best people to him. I look for some creative picks.

    • LabDancer says:

      I hadn’t pictured you as quite so aspirational. Better watch out, or you’ll become know as the Bill Ayers to the SCOTUS establishment.

  23. nihil says:

    I believe in affirmative action and proportional representation. The court does not have enough seats to represent all of the various interests, so the Democrats should start off with by expanding the bench to, say, 15 seats. But sticking with 9, I figure we should have 5 women (not enough now)and 4 men. We should have one African-American (we have 1) and one Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, or other). No two justices should be from a single Circuit, except the 9th until its split); appointments should rotate among the 13 Circuits. There should be 4 Protestants (2 of British Island ancestry, and 2 from Northern Europe) , 3 Catholics or Orthodox(Not more than one from each Iberian ancestry, Italian ancestry, 1 Polish or Ukrainian, or Russian) 1 other eligion (Buddhist, Deist, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Unitarian, Jewish or other), and 1 with no religion (atheist, agnostic, heretic, apostate, or lapsarian or excommunicated). All should be required to speak English, not necessarily as their first language. (Did you ever hear Brandeis speak? His first language was Kaintuck). Not more than 5 should be appointed by either a Democratic or a Republican presidents and 4 by Republic. Not more than 5 Liberal, or 5 Conservative (declared at birth and duly recorded — see W.S. Gilbert, “Trial by Jury “Every child born on earth alive is either a little Liberal or else a little Conservative. [the “i” is long]”) With all of the restrictions, I estimate that only one or two lawyers will qualify for any vacancy. If necessary they can play “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” “Eeny, meeny …,” or flip a coin to decide. Think of all those boring Judiciary Committee hearings we will all miss.

    • bmaz says:

      The court should be the best available minds, not a smorgasborg of freaking racial and geographic interests. Nothing personal, but this sounds insane to me. I am assuming you have made the above comment in jest, and if that is indeed so, it is pretty good.

  24. protoslacker says:

    Embarrassing that I don’t have a clue about credible nominations to Supreme Court. But I’m really happy bmaz opened up this thread, because of course justice is important. I want women appointed. I love Patricia J. William’s columns because they often bring the law to home. Man or woman I want a nominee who has a sense for how law affects real people.

    Larrence Lessig would be an interesting choice. I can’t think of a name, but a nominee with a real commitment to the environment would be a plus.

    Purely as personal preference, a young person, woman or man, with big hair would be a plus. How about Osagyefo Sekou?

    • LabDancer says:

      Sekou?

      On the plus side:

      [1] aspirational?

      And how!

      [2] insta-coronary for Scalia and Thomas?

      At least!

      [3] big hair?

      The biggest!

      On the minus side:

      [1] not female

      [2] doesn’t appear to actually: [*]

      [a] be a lawyer,
      [b] have a law degree,
      [c] have the slightest inclination to listen to a bunch of white guys in suits debate riparian priorities, or
      [d] have any aptitude for the deeply anal work of writing legal opinions

      [* I wasn’t sure whether to put all this in the plus or minus list, but I do have serious doubts as to the ability of the Obama administration, even with the unified support of the progoshere, to attract bipartisan support for his confirmation.]

  25. Mommybrain says:

    Um, bmoz, nihil was talking about Linda Ronstadt, not my nominee. Jerry Brown is NOT Hispanic, he’s Irish.

    • bmaz says:

      I crack up every time mentions me getting elected to anything. Ever. I am likely the the most unelectable piece of human protoplasm ever in existence. Not to mention that my interaction with the press and public would probably make Bobby Knight and Bill Parcells look smooth and pleasant. I can’t even get elected head of my own household; the wife has that position nailed down.

      Man, can you imagine running for some office these days? I am surprised as many people as do actually choose to undergo that gauntlet of stupidity and inanity.

      • LabDancer says:

        I dunno – the folks in Arizona seem to have shown a remarkable degree of tolerance for choleric outbursts from their elected representatives.

        Look: you don’t actually have to BE corrupt – tell ‘em you completely open to being bought, then stiff ‘em all!

        A useful strategy that a lot of wingers have used is to make up an imaginary enemy and run to protect America for them. Remember Tricky Dick and the Red Menace? He made out like a bandit with that. Since it’s so hard to actually think like a winger, you could always try channeling a particularly creative conspiracy theorist, say Jim Garrison. If you’re not into seances, then I’m not trying to be mean here] freep seems to have an unerring sense of what gets wingers into a flap. Plus Obama’s done an awful lot to give Blue Dogs something to run on, so maybe you could get an endorsement from that bunch and combine it with whatever essentially fictional but nonetheless electorally plausible menace that freep suggests.

        Really man, I think you have to come up with something: it was you who pushed and pushed for Obama to give Napolitano a meaningful job in WDC, and now there’s this specter of McFraud with only a giant dead cactus standing between him and picking up the mantle of Toobz.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, I had the ease of being almost certain she was going one way or another; I just wanted to get her to AG. If not there DHS will be a good job for her. She was a goner from here either way though. If i had any thought that she might stay, I might have argued differently; but that just wasn’t going to happen. Our current AG, Terry Goddard is a decent guy from a long time political family here. He is termed out from AG in 2010 and will run either for governor or Senate. My guess is governor. Other than that though, we got nuthin for strong Dem candidates.

  26. Mary says:

    52 – While I meant someone under the radar who won’t give the contentious cruisers as much red meat, but will end up being on the side of the angels, I’m going to have to stick up more specifically for Mr. Maritime – IMO, Souter is a very very smart guy who is able to pick up any thread, sees all the layers of the onion and the onion at the same time, and has the kind of demeanor that is reassuring on the Court. I’d be very happy with another one like him and I think if you start pulling names of activists – like Scheck, if they have any integrity you end up losing their votes on the issues near and dear, bc in good faith they should recuse on issues where they have been longstanding advocates for a specific outcome on a specific issue. JMO

  27. NMvoiceofreason says:

    As I have pointed out before, this is a losing proposition. If you want to remain in the 5-4 minority forever, be my guest. But I would turn the Supreme Court of the Republican Party back into the Supreme Court of the United States by passing a court restructuring of 15 Justices, requiring them to have argument and written, signed opinions on all cases, instead of being lazy lawyers and only doing 1% of the work assigned to them. If they had to spell out why everyone they think should die should die, and justify it on the merits of the record before them, we’d have a lot less people executed in this country, and no more embarrassments like Bush v. Gore.

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