On Supreme Court Nominations

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is stepping down.

Who should President Obama replace him with?

It’s guaranteed that whomever he nominates will be in for a difficult time in the Senate.

A year and a half ago I suggested Hillary Clinton as a likely Supreme Court nominee from President Obama. I think the reasons I explicate there as to why she should be nominated — and would be confirmed — remain valid today.

Ezra Klein of the Washington Post floated the idea of nominating Clinton for the Supreme Court on Friday.

I think the Secretary of State would make a fantastic Supreme Court justice.

2 thoughts on “On Supreme Court Nominations

  1. I agree that the phrase “Chief Justice Clinton” has a good ring to it, although we’re just suggesting a nomination for one of the justices, rather than the top one, right?

    Isn’t Clinton a little busy being Secretary of State to consider this right now? She’s been highly visible and highly effective. Would this move be seen as a come-down or a promotion? And, if Obama does put her forward, then who would you suggest as the new Secretary of State?

    Maybe Bill?

  2. George W. Bush nominated John Roberts to be Chief Justice about four years ago, after the previous Chief Justice, William Rehnquist, died suddenly. Roberts is quite young, and could serve twenty years, even thirty years or more.

    There is actually nothing special about the Chief Justice. He is first among equals at best, and holds no special sway over the court.

    I agree that Clinton is doing exemplary work as Secretary of State, and she’s made it clear that she’s not interested, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see Obama nominating Clinton to the Supreme Court any time in the near future. If Obama is reelected in 2012, though, I think it might be more likely for Clinton to be nominated then; there’s a tradition for Cabinet turnover in the second term, especially at State. William Christopher gave way to Madeleine Albright for Clinton’s second term; Colin Powell was replaced with Condi Rice in Bush’s second term.

    Bill Clinton would work very well as Secretary of State, if Obama needed to nominate another. (Indeed, I suggested John Kerry should consider Bill Clinton for SOS if he were elected in 2004.) I’m not sure if Clinton would accept the nomination, though; he’s doing much the same work, on his own terms, through his foundation, and, like with the negotiations with North Korea last year over the two reporters they took into captivity, Clinton may work best as a representative of his government who also appears to be a free actor, someone that can be called upon when the situation calls for it. Secretary of State would be a lot of work for him, some of his financial dealings with his foundation would come under scrutiny (this was a concern when Hillary ran for President), and he’d lose his freedom of action. I think Bill Clinton would turn it down. He’d have to.

    My top choice to replace Hillary Clinton would be General Wesley Clark. After Clark, I think Massachusetts Senator John Kerry would be a good choice for Secretary of State. Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson would be as well, though Richardson has some shady financial dealings in his background if I remember correctly that sunk a possible Cabinet post in Obama’s administration previously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *