President Obama may nominate one or two justices to the Supreme Court during the next four years. He shouldn’t nominate a judge.
We need someone able and willing to shakeup the ideological gridlock that has this Court stuck in its 5-4 mold.
There’s precedent for doing so. One of the most significant periods of the Court’s history was the tenure of Chief Justice Earl Warren. He was governor of California when he was appointed by Dwight Eisenhower and oversaw such decisions as Brown v. Board of Education. Not bad.
So who should get the nod? Here are three picks that no one’s talking about.
1) Barack Obama
Crazy, I know, but I’m serious. It would have to be late in his second term, his job approval rating would have to be high, and he would need enough votes in the Senate to be confirmed, but this would be the best next Supreme Court Justice.
It's technically possible. He would have to step down as president, but if Obama did it late in the term, he wouldn't be giving up much and would gain a lifetime position.
Obama’s an orator and leader and exactly the kind of judge the Supreme Court needs right now. He is also a former constitutional law professor and has some real credentials. But more importantly, he understands policy and politics, two things the court has always been involved in.
2) Jeffrey Immelt
Immelt is the CEO of General Electric. Arguably, one of the greatest American companies ever.
This nomination would be a gesture to Republicans and the business community. Immelt was once buds with Obama, heading up his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, but reportedly soured on the president come election time. Either way, it would add another business voice to the Supreme Court, but one with actual business experience.
It might help to break things open, having a corporate leader on the Supreme Court that does not seem to be a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like Scalia or Thomas. Especially during what will likely be an extended period of slow growth for the country.
3) Susan Rice
Her name’s been in the news a lot as a possible candidate to lead the State Department. Indeed, her focus is more on international issues, but Rice gets credit for being outspoken and her background in international law and issues could be just the thing the Court needs at a time when everything is becoming more globalized. International law is popping up more often in Supreme Court cases.
Having an outspoken voice, and one with an international perspective, could really get the ball rolling on breaking the current Supreme Court mold.