Donald Trump is supposed to be a profoundly unserious president, yet his two nominees for the Supreme Court have been eminently qualified jurists.
Sure, liberals can regurgitate the allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh and gripe about the role the Federalist Society may have had or that odd noise about Judge Andrew Napolitano being considered for a seat on the court. (I always considered it just that — noise, and noise that’s disappeared now that the Fox News legal analyst is a frequent Twitter target of the president.)
However, the fact remains this: The final choice was with Donald Trump and he chose well both times. Not only that, before he was elected he published a list of judges he would consider, all of whom would have been sober, serious choices. There wasn’t Judge Mills Lane to be found anywhere there.
Joe Biden, meanwhile, says he would consider a man who’s never even sat on the federal bench and peaked, at least in that department, as a constitutional law academic. Granted, how much he believed in the value of that document in practice was always a question, but there was his training. He spent four years as a senator. He may have done some, um, other work in between then and then, but that’s basically his training.
Oh, and he happened to be Biden’s former boss.
In a speech in Washington, Iowa, on Saturday, the former vice president indicated he would nominate Barack Obama to the Supreme Court, provided Obama was interested.
“If he’d take it, yes,” Biden said in response to a question from the audience.
Biden, in Washington, Iowa, is asked if he would nominate Obama to the Supreme Court. “If he’d take it, yes,” Biden says.
— Thomas Kaplan (@thomaskaplan) December 28, 2019
This probably caused not a few people to Google if there were any presidents who became Supreme Court justices. To save you the trip to your URL bar in order to do a search, the answer is yes: William Howard Taft, the notoriously rotund Ohio politician who was Theodore Roosevelt’s chosen successor in the election of 1908.
Taft did so well in the White House that Roosevelt decided to run again for president as a third-party candidate in 1912 — and finished well above Taft in the popular and electoral vote, although both would lose to Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
Taft was nominated to the high court by President Warren G. Harding, where he was appointed to replace Chief Justice Edward Douglass White. Taft’s time as chief justice was inarguably more productive and better-remembered than his time at 1600 Pennsylvania. (Although, contrary to what you may have heard in your history class, Taft never really got stuck in the White House bathtub.)
Before my liberal readers start typing out their harshly-worded pro-Taft pieces (which will no doubt include the sentence, “I never heard any of you express any problem with Taft’s ascension to the court, and I can guess why”) consider the fact that Taft had been a federal judge and a U.S. solicitor general.
I know the words “community organizer” will probably get thrown around in strongly-worded social media posts about the possibility Biden might pick Obama as a Supreme Court nominee. However, he was a constitutional law lecturer at the University of Chicago and has a degree from Harvard Law.
Except he said he got that degree so he could … help organize in the community.
In a 1990 issue of Ebony, an article reported a young Obama said that “a degree in law was the necessary vehicle to better community organization and activism.”
“The idea was not only to get people to learn how to hope and dream about different possibilities, but to know how the tax structure affects what kind of housing gets built where,” Obama said.
So, never mind. Drag out that community organizer label, because that’s exactly what he apparently went to law school for. And that’s really his legal experience, unless you count being in the White House.
What would Barack Obama bring to the Supreme Court, then? He’d bring a decidedly partisan perspective. That’s it. You’d know how he was going to decide on every given case. There wouldn’t be any worries about him stabbing Democrats in the back. That’s really all he’d give — a reliable vote for the left. Is this excellence in jurisprudence?
Barack Obama is a very popular man on the left. I have no doubt that if the Democratic Party organized the prom, he’d be king. That doesn’t make him a serious Supreme Court nominee — and not quashing that question in the way he should have is a sign that Biden isn’t really serious.
I mean, say what you will about Andrew Napolitano, at least he was a judge.
Perhaps someone will call this a joke. Certainly, the president makes a lot of them — why not Biden? From the coverage this is getting, I don’t quite think this is all that jocund.
Pundits of the mainstream media like to call President Trump unserious. Joe Biden just said he’d put Barack Obama on the Supreme Court. They also like to accuse Trump of cronyism. Biden’s talking about putting his old boss on the highest court in the land.
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