With the announcement of Justice Souter’s retirement, President Obama faces a big decision. Given his track record to date on Very Big Decisions, I am not sanguine he will do well with this pick. He has already set a deadline for the confirmation — he told the White House Press that he wants the person confirmed by the start of the next term.
Obama has also stated he will make an ideological pick that emphasized empathy and outcome. Personally, I want one who knows the law and applies it. In a nation of laws, the law drives the outcome. In a cult of personality system, the outcome drives the law. Activist judges of every stripe should be anathema to a nation of laws. While empathy should temper the reasoning, it should not control it. It is a sad fact of the law that good people get bad outcomes and bad people get good outcomes. The law is the law. It is what is actually says, not what some judge says it should say.
Since Obama’s pick will be someone who is not law driven but outcome driven (I can live with a law driven liberal judge, I cannot live with an outcome driven one), it is the duty of those who believe in the law, to thorougly vet any nomination. If the person cannot be outright rejected as was Bork, at the very least we can raise such a stink that the person (oh heck, her, you know it will be a woman) is ineffective on the court out of fear of opening her mouth as was done to Justice Thomas.
That said, here are the first names being bandied about. The List comes from Above the Law which compiled it from other sites. Any information about these suggestions are gratefully accepted. Forewarned is forearmed.
Sonia Sotemayer – 2nd Circ. — seems to be the early favorite. ETA: Just found out she in Puerto Rico, so Hispanic, Female. If she were a Lesbian, she would be a shoe-in for the pick. Not that I don’t think that there should not be another female, or a hispanic or a homosexual person on the Court, I just don’t think those should be the first consideration. It should be more a “oh and by the way, as eminently qualified as this person is, just happens to be.”
Elena Kagan – Solicitor General — longshot since she was just confirmed. Obama knew he would be picking a Justice soon, if he had wanted her for SCOTUS he would have held her back.
Diane Wood – 7th Circ. ?????
Governor Jennifer Granholm — Michigan Governor — Longshot. Obama needs her in Michigan to continue his takeover of the auto industry and for all his other socialist plans.
Harold Koh – State Dept. Legal Adviser Nominee — Longshot– male and again if Obama wanted him fro SCOTUS wouldn’t have sent him to State to keep Clinton in line.
Kathleen Sullivan — Stanford Law Professor — ???
Kim Wardlaw — 9th Circ. — Oh god. 9th Circ and liked by Obama, enough said. Time to start reading her opinions.
Governor Deval Patrick — Mass Gov. — Male and needed to push socialism.
Pamela S. Karlan – Stanford Law Professor — Could be interesting to watch Stanford split over which one to support.