It has only been a Hundred Days, and already President Obama now has a new issue to deal with:Â the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice to replace retiring Justice David Souter.Â This is a pleasant problem, however, and will have a longer range effect on history than anything else the President does in his time in office, as a judicial nominee can expect to serve 20-30 years, and therefore have a major impact on constitutional law and interpretation.
Speculation has it that it is likely that a woman, and possibly a person of Hispanic or African American ancestry, will be the priority for the judicial nominee.Â Certainly, with only one woman on the CourtÂ (Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg), and with her recent cancer treatment making it likely that she will leave earlier rather than later,Â it would make sense to insure that at least one woman would be definite for the Court membership.
There are several well qualified women circuit court judges, and even some of minority status, and it reflects the wealth of talent that is available to diversify the Supreme Court for the future.Â Of course, the hope is that Obama’s nominee will not turn out to be a surprise in judicial interpretation, as has happened so often to Republican Presidential choices,Â including Justice Souter, who turned out to be much more liberal than President George H W Bush expected he would be.
The new Justice should hopefully be at least a moderate liberal as Justice Souter has been, but there is also another consideration.Â Since all of the present members of the Court were circuit court judges before they came to the Supreme Court, it might be wise to find someone with more diverse experience, including electoral office, which none of the present Justices have had.Â Such Justices as Hugo BlackÂ (Senator),Â Earl WarrenÂ (Governor),Â William Howard TaftÂ (President),Â and Charles Evans HughesÂ (Governor and Presidential candidate)Â all played major roles on the Court, and it could be argued that their political experiences were a major plus.
So if we consider this factor, then an excellent choice would be Governor Jennnifer Granholm of Michigan who also was Attorney General of the state.Â Also, Secretary of State and former Senator Hillary Clinton of New YorkÂ would be a mind blowing choice!Â :)Â Â Â Also coming to mind,Â if it was decided to add a white maleÂ (which seems unlikely),Â would be former President Bill Clinton, who at age 63 is still young enough and certainly bright enough to serve on the Court for many years.Â Another possibility would be Deval Patrick, the African American governor of Massachusetts.
In any case, this should be an interesting summer on the subject of the Supreme Court, and remember, there is still the possibility that Justice Ginsberg will retire due to reasons of health.Â So again,Â it is obvious that Presidential elections DO have long range consequences!