With Scalia’s passing, the Supreme Court finds itself with an empty seat to fill. Both Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have called for the nomination of a new judge to be postponed until the next presidency. And with a Republican-controlled Senate, Obama’s likely to face pushback on whatever judge he chooses.
That won’t stop Obama from trying to push his pick through.
Via the NY Daily News, here’s whose on deck:
The 48-year-old moderate D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judge, has already been labeled Obama’s “Supreme Court nominee in waiting,” by The New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin.
Widely seen as the most likely choice, he would be the first Indian-American justice on the highest court.
Paul WatfordWatford, a 48-year-old African-American Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge who Obama said “has displayed exceptional dedication to the legal profession throughout his work,” after his 2012 confirmation.
First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Barron would be a controversial choice for Obama.
Barron notoriously authored a secret memo which justified Obama’s decision to order drone strikes on Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who became a radicalized Islamic militant living in Yemen.
The ACLU called the memo a “disturbing” legal precedent for drone strikes.
Garland is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and is known for having lead prosecutions in the Oklahoma City bombing and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski cases while he was the Associate Deputy Attorney General from 1994 to 2013.
“His name has been kicking around for a while. He’s not an extremely liberal Democrat, he’s sort of centrist,” Wermiel, the American University law professor, said.
Obama has already nominated two female Supreme Court justices early on in his presidency–in 2009, he picked Bronx-native Sonia Sotomayor and in 2010 he chose New Yorker Elena Kagan.
Loretta Lynch was recently nominated and confirmed with bipartisan support to be the U.S. Attorney General in April 2015.
She came out swinging in her new role, already filing a discrimination lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri and indicting nine FIFA executives for the match-fixing scandal.
No doubt the consideration of Loretta Lynch will send chills down many a conservative’s spine, given her record of politicizing her non-political role as attorney general.
Patricia Ann Millett
D.C. Circuit judge Patricia Ann Millett, another Harvard Law School alum, has spent most of her career practicing corporate law at the firm Miller & Chevalier
She has argued 32 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and holds a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, according to her profile on the U.S. Court of Appeal site.
Of course, we’ve reported previously the suggestion that Obama himself be nominated to the Supreme Court — another terrifying thought.
The last President who tried to nominate a Supreme Court justice this close to an election was LBJ in 1968. Senators then argued that the next president should make the nomination, and filibustered and blocked the appointment.
If these are Obama’s picks, we can only hope for history to repeat itself here.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]