December 15, 2006

The Evans-Novak Report Ponders Replacements for Justice Stevens

This is just silly, right? All things being equal, sure it's easier to get a senator through the confirmation process, so it makes some sense to consider senators in a 51-49 Senate. But several of these names would fly directly into what have become traditional hurdles any high Court nominee would have to overcome. Could the knuckle-draggers in the far-right media that sank Harriet Miers abide Lindsey Graham? Could the White House abide Lindsey Graham? Is there any way John Cornyn wouldn't be filibustered? I don't mean to sound all elitist, but most of the people who evalute Supreme Court nominees are, and Mike DeWine got his law degree from Ohio Northern (where?). Plus he turns 60 in a few weeks and many people in this White House like to nominate veritable infants to life-tenure seats on the federal bench.

The other two names seem somwhat more plausible, but are still problematic. The president might like to nominate the first Hispanic to the Court, and so Mel Martinez could make some sense. But he's 60, got his law degree at Florida State, and naming him would remove him from potential winning the Vice Presidential sweepstakes in 2008. Mike Crapo? Well, on paper he'd seem the most likely. His voting record is very, very conservative. He's the right age. He was graduated from Harvard Law and clerked for a judge on the 9th Circuit. Maybe Crapo would be an option - though it's worth noting I haven't heard him discussed as one before. And both Martinez and Crapo might raise religious concerns in the minds of some (a Martinez appointment would make the Court 2/3's Roman Catholic and Crapo is a Mormon), though I doubt those would block their appointment.

So, well one or two of these might be slight possibilities. But this is an option that's rarely (if ever) been discussed before now, and some of the names raised in this report are ... well, I'm highly dubious of the idea that we should take them seriously. All that said, since the president now fancies himself a latter day Harry Truman it's worth pointing out that Truman was the last president to name senators to the Court (Republican Harold Burton of Ohio and Democrat Sherman Minton of Indiana).

Posted by armand at December 15, 2006 03:58 PM | TrackBack | Posted to Law and the Courts | Politics

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