Tuesday, September 27, 2005

List of Potential SC Candidates

OUBlog has posted a list a possible candidates for the O'Connor seat. Most of the candidates are are the usual suspects, the people rumored to be picked last time. My (uniformed) understanding assumes a lot of these people can be crossed off the list for purely politcal reasons. And with Bush hinting to picking a woman or minority, some on the list can be struck off because they don't fit the profile. Here's the list with my comments in italics:

Emilio Garza. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit. Would be first Hispanic named to the Court, but only if Benjamin Cardozo (served 1932-1938) doesn't count (hereafter "oiBCdc"). Has publicly criticized Roe v. Wade and would likely be filibustered.
The skinny: Republicans would love to see Democrats attack a highly qualified Hispanic. (Seems like a pretty solid option given his ethnicity and opposition to Roe. He might generate a filibuster, but it would be much more difficult to filibuster a Hispanic whose court is headquartered in New Orleans)

Janice Rogers Brown. Court of Appeals, DC circuit. Only potential nominee more conservative than Clarence Thomas. Would be first black female on the Court.
The skinny: Has compared big government to slavery and the New Deal as the triumph of our "socialist revolution." She's so far right it's possible the Democrats wouldn't need to filibuster her. (No chance. She fits the minority/woman profile, but she's an extreme libertarian who was filibustered for years before getting on the Court of Appeals. The Democrats will never allow her on the Court)

Alberto Gonzalez. Attorney General. Would be first Hispanic named to the Court, "oiBCdc". Purportedly pro-choice candidate could unify Republicans and Democrats the same way Kelo v. New London (New London took people's homes to give them to private developers) did: substantial opposition by both.
The skinny: Democrats would have to consider whether they'd prefer a pro-torture official as head of the Department of Justice or 1/9th of the Supreme Court. (Simplu put, it's questionable if Gonzalez is conservative enough for this spot. With Bush's apporval ratings sagging, he needs to reenergize his base and appointing a moderate conservative is not the way to do that. While he fits the Hispanic profile, I don't see this move making political sense)

Frank Easterbrook. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit. Leading disciple of the law and economics movement, would be favorite of economic conservatives upset by Kelo.
The skinny: Richard Posner, founder of law and economics, would deserve any law and economics seat, but the provocative Posner couldn't be confirmed. Like Moses, Posner showed the way, but he doesn't make it to the promised land. (Too Law and Economics. I haven't read anything by Easterbrook, but if he's like Posner at all, his views on Constitutional interpretation or law in general would diverege far from Bush's. Plus, he doesn't add the diversity/woman element)

Miguel Estrada. Private practice. Honduran born and raised immigrant graduated from Columbia and Harvard. Would be first Hispanic named to the Court, "oiBCdc". Denied lower visibility seat on Court of Appeals by Democrats to keep themselves from having to block this highly qualified conservative Hispanic from the higher visibility Supreme Court.
The skinny: According to the Washington Post, Latino opponents to his Court of Appeals nomination thought him "insufficiently Hispanic." (Estrada got the worst of the filibusters. While eminently qualified, he's portrayed as too extreme, and I can't see him losing that label because of a SC nomination)

Michael McConnell. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit. Former constitutional law scholar. Strong supporter of religion in public life. Conservative, independent thinker has criticized Roe v. Wade and Bush v. Gore.
The skinny: Probably the most conservative nominee who could be confirmed. Even liberal law profs would love to see one of their own make it to the big leagues. (Solid choice but not a conservative or woman, so no go)

Edith Jones. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit. Voted to reinstate a death sentence because defendant hadn't proved that his attorney slept through "critical" parts of his capital trial.
The skinny: Bush 41 chose Souter over her in 1990, and we know how 43 loves to fix daddy's mistakes. (Would seem to make as much sense as anyone until this point. Conservative, female, and got shafted because of Souter)

Priscilla Owen. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit. Filibustered by Democrats until compromise over nuclear option allowed her to receive a vote.
The skinny: Democrats could call Alberto Gonzalez, who accused her of "unconscionable judicial activism" when they served together on a Texas Supreme Court abortion case, to testify against her. But since her vote denied the pro-choice claim, it's the sort of judicial activism that Republicans love. (Same problem as Estrada. Viewed as "out of the mainstream." Can't see her changing that perception)

Edith Brown Clement. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit. Stealth conservative who graduated Tulane (read: not Harvard, Yale, etc.). White House leaked her name as O'Connor's replacement hours before actually naming Roberts.
The skinny: We won't get fooled again! (As good a choice as Jones or Garza, plus hails from New Orleans)

It would seem Bush will choose either Clement, Jones, or Garza, given all the factors I mentioned. We'll see on Friday.

(Hat Tip: Legal Theory Blog)

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