Who Should Obama Appoint to SCOTUS? Hint: A Pol.

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Adam Liptak has an interesting Times piece up on the fact that now every single supreme court justice is a former federal judge, a fact pointed out recently by Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts noted this approvingly. I’m not so sure. Supreme Court justices used to have more diverse backgrounds and former governors and senators and even presidents (okay one, Taft) have served on the court. I have nothing against experience from the bench although I think a life spent entirely on the bench and in the classroom is more likely to yield the likes of a Scalia. I was somewhat comforted by the fact that Roberts himself was primarily a private practice attorney before joining the federal bench. That’s no guarantee that you won’t be an ideologue but real world court room experience as a litigator is something worth having. I’d love it if Obama put a politician on the Court. Bill Clinton is said to have a lot of regret about not having put one on. I could think of a few including: Jennifer Granholm (being born Canadian is allowed), Kathleen Sebelius, Janet Napolitano, Ed Rendell, even North Carolina Governor Mike Easley. Feingold would be sort of fun, in an irritable way. There’s no guarantee that any on them would be a great but if diversity means anything it should mean more than race and gender but also experience. A politician would bring that and could be a unifying force against a conservative chief justice who isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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