Friday, April 9, 2010

Hillary Clinton or Tiger Woods for SCOTUS?

Call me crazy but I think the President might pick Hillary Clinton as our next nominee to the Supreme Court of the United States to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.

A site called Above the Law has some interesting speculation on the candidates Obama might pick. They suggest Clinton's name and noted that "having a penis is a bit of a disadvantage for potential nominees right now." I guess if we take ATL literally that means we can surely rule out Tiger Woods.

But in all seriousness, Clinton might want to take on a new challenge. Besides the fact that I think Clinton is bored at the State Department, what really makes me think Clinton might want this position is that she is hyper-political and is unwilling pass up the opportunity. She is hyper-political because she moved to New York to run for US Senate. She wanted a name in history. She even ran for president and threw everything she had at Obama. But her time in politics is numbered and she knows it. Remember when Clinton's name was being thrown around for the New York Governor's race -- maybe it was because she knew there would be a few openings on the Supreme Court?

Liberal commentators suggest Clinton would be the perfect nominee for Obama for a number of reasons. Primarily, she is a known quantity that has been vetted by the public because of her presidential run, her role as a US Senator and first lady. How could any Senator reasonably beat up on one of their former colleagues? She was confirmed by the Senate for her position as Secretary of State with a vote of 94-2. Obama would effectively be neutralizing the polarizing Supreme Court battle we are traditionally used to, while buying himself some political capital and breathing room.

Second, by nominating Clinton to the Supreme Court Obama could effectively cross her off the list as a potential opponent for 2012, which seems unlikely anyways (but better safe then sorry). Third, it would allow Obama to take new control over his foreign policy agenda and replace Clinton with someone he more closely aligns with politically. If Clinton were nominated and passed the Senate she would be the first woman to serve in all three branches of government. What a place in history! The one major drawback to Obama would be Clinton's age, but she is in good health.

One could also make a case that with Obama's low approval numbers he doesn't want to start a fight with the Republicans over a controversial nominee right before the 2010 elections. And while Obama could use some greater outreach to female voters, I'm not sure he is looking to do it the Tiger Woods way. And besides, Hillary Clinton better represents the "empathy standard" Obama proposes for his judges even if Tiger Woods does win another Master Tournament this weekend.


  1. Maybe Obama would pick Dede Scozzafava for her endorsement of Bill Owens? Sounds like a fair trade to me.

  2. Judical experience (i.e., on the bench) is going to be a critical issue (rulings, opinions, papers, etc)... Mrs. Clinton has zero experience in that area.

  3. Your idea of Hillary's appointment to the Supreme Court by Obama is a good one and very logical. I was taken aback a bit, though, by the comment regarding Hillary's age. She seems like such a youngster compared with so many of the current Justices; however, upon doing some further research, I have discovered that she is only 2 years younger than Horace H. Lurton was when he was appointed to the Supreme Court by Taft in 1909. Lurton holds the distinction of being the oldest appointee to ever take a seat on the Bench, and died just four years later. I have every confidence in Hillary, however, and believe that if she can keep up with the physically demanding position of Secretary of State, she would have no problem with the itinerary of a Justice.

    Side Bar: Penis or no penis, the thought of Woods as a Supreme Court Justice is just wrong! He probably wouldn't wear anything under his robe, and he'd be hitting on Ginsburg and Sotomayor non-stop; they'd never get any work done....

  4. @Dan Francis. Judicial experience is not a prerequisite for being appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court. There are no specific requirements, although a background in law--which Mrs. Clinton possesses--is considered essential. Former Justices have included governors, diplomats, senators, congressmen, etc. In fact, one of the most illustrious Justices in US history and the first Chief Justice, John Jay, had been George Washington's Secretary of Foreign Affairs, a cabinet post that was renamed "Secretary of State" in 1789.

    It can be argued that such Justices bring real world experience and practical application to the bench, as opposed to the Pharisaic practitioners of law who are more concerned with the rule of law rather than the spirit.