Kagan won’t want to be part of this ‘elite’ SCOTUS group

A sex-crazed 62-year-old. A Harvard professor who smoked pot with his students. A close friend to the president. A white supremacist. A three-time loser.

Sounds like the ideal cast for this summer’s edition of “Big Brother,” no?

If only.

Instead, they’re Lucius Q.C. Lamar, Douglas Ginsburg, Harriet Miers, G. Harrold Carswell and Reuben H. Walworth, all past hopefuls for the U.S. Supreme Court who didn’t have luck on their side for the aforementioned reasons, respectively. They’ve made the list of “The 5 Most Disastrous Supreme Court Nominees,” as designated by The Week magazine.

So far, Elena Kagan appears to not be a candidate for the list should it get revised next year. However, despite her being a former dean at Harvard, she’s never been a judge. Ginsburg already has one up on her, as he’s a D.C. Circuit Court judge – albeit, as The Week labeled him, the “highest judge in the land.”


Op ed: SCOTUS Citizens United decision

Interesting opinion piece by the Detroit Free Press’s Brian Dickerson:

It’s a curious fact that no currently serving U.S. Supreme Court justice has ever run for political office. Americans who’d overlooked that historical anomaly got a powerful reminder last week when a divided court authorized a global corporate auction for the services of elected officials.

I’m not suggesting that any of the incumbent justices are political innocents, or incapable of playing in the deep end with professional Machiavellians such as Rahm Emanuel or James Baker. This is, after all, largely the same cast of characters who brought us Bush v. Gore — a ruling that, if it accomplished nothing else, disabused Americans of any delusion that life-tenured judges are above partisan politics.

SCOTUS Chief Judge Roberts fielding questions at U of M

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is set to face questions from University of Michigan law students during a forum at the Ann Arbor campus, reports The Associated Press.

The university says the nation’s top judge will take part in “an informal question-and-answer session” this morning.

More from The AP.

Granholm SCOTUS buzz continues

Governor Jennifer Granholm so far has not entertained any talk about being on short lists of potential nominees for the opening on the U.S. Supreme Court being created by Justice David Souter’s retirement later this year.

Governor Jennifer Granholm is deflecting talk about a possible nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court

Gov. Jennifer Granholm: Let's talk about something else

Granholm last week demurred when pressed by Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC and, locally, Paul W. Smith on WJR, about her possible SCOTUS nomination. In fact, Granholm told Smith that her nomination would never fly because she’s never been a judge.

But that’s an excellent reason why she should be considered, according to University of Maryland School of Law Professor Sherrilyn A. Ifill. In a commentary published yesterday on CNN’s Web site, Ifill argued that the Supreme Court has been overpopulated by former appeals court judges.

It’s been nearly two decades since anyone who has not served as a federal appellate judge — for at least a little while — has been confirmed to sit on the court. What this means is that justices on the court have come to be representative of a very narrow slice of the profession.

Federal appellate judges, former federal prosecutors and high-powered federal appellate practitioners stand a very good chance of getting nominated. State court judges, full-time law professors, former criminal defense attorneys, even civil practice trial lawyers — not so much.

Ifill says that relying on the federal appellate bench as “the sole feeder to the Supreme Court also means that the pool from which nominees are considered is overwhelmingly white and male.”

That’s why Ifill is pleased to hear that

three women with more diverse backgrounds may be on President Obama’s shortlist for the court. Elena Kagan is the former dean of Harvard Law School and Obama’s new solicitor general. Leah Ward Sears is the chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. And of course Jennifer Granholm is the governor of Michigan.

As could be expected, we’ve already heard murmurs that Kagan and Granholm should not be considered because they lack judicial experience. This is just wrong-headed and reflective of the wholesale acceptance of an increasingly narrow view of Supreme Court qualifications.

Each of these nominees has been touted as a talented lawyer who could help bring much-needed gender diversity to the court (which after the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2006 left Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the lone woman justice). But perhaps these candidates should best be recognized for their potential to bring much-needed professional diversity to the court.