Obama a Surpreme Court Justice?

What are the chances that some future Democratic President would nominate Barak Obama to the SCOTUS if a seat opened up?

Does his experience as a Constitutional Law proffessor qualify him for the position?

Would he want the position?

The Constitution does not lay out any official qualifications for the Supreme Court, but at least recently, justices have started off as lawyers and then become judges. Obama has a law degree but didn’t spend much time practicing law because he wanted to get into politics, and it goes without saying he’s never been a judge. I think it’s very unlikely he’d be nominated because the confirmation fight would become a mess.

But hey, there’d be no filibuster!

That current honor only goes to William Howard Taft. Taft was a Professor of Constitutional law at Yale after his Presidency.

Nope. The latest change in filibuster rules does not apply to Supreme Court nominations, so those can still be filibustered.

Is this something that ANYBODY thinks he’s qualified for?

It would be worth it just to keep the angry old people in this country gnashing their teeth in rage until they all finally die. 8 years just wasn’t enough!

It’s always kind of intrigued people because of his Constitutional law professorship, and I think it’s something Democratic presidential candidates will be asked about for a few elections. Which is pointless because presidential candidates never tip their hands on that issue. I doubt he would be nominated and I doubt he ever would have thought about nominating Hillary Clinton (or Bill). Presidential candidates prefer to go their own way instead of hitching their carts to a predecessor. And if he were nominated, it’d just give Senate Republicans a chance to rehash every single thing he did that they didn’t like (which is everything). Why would a future president want to do that? Even Democrats would probably be split on the idea: on the one hand he’d probably be a reliably liberal vote and he has the gay rights issues to his credit, but then there’s the NSA and drone strike issues and the lack of legal action against torturers and people responsible for the financial crisis, among other things.

Also, at least presently, the accepted strategy for your confirmation hearings seems to be to carefully avoid taking a position on anything at all*, [del]weaseling[/del] lawyering your way around every question that has even a whiff of controversy so that everyone has the cover they need to vote for you, no matter what litmus test their party/constituency has set up. If you’re a judge, and you’re ambitious enough to have your eyes on the Court from the earliest days of your career, you can draft your opinions in such a way that you’ll have a hard time being caught out on this. A President (or any other elective office, really) is most likely going to have a firmer paper trail regarding their positions on the issues.

  • Yes, I know there’s a legitimate argument for doing this, as judges should remain impartial and reach decisions only on the facts presented. But I’m cynical, ok?

I was aware of The Taft precedent; that’s what originally got me thinking about this. From what I’ve read Taft was a far better Justice than he ever was a President.

I can imagine the GOP reaction if it ever happened with Obama. A complete explosion of bloody, frothing fury. I honestly didn’t think the right could ever hate anyone more than they hated Bill Clinton, unitl 2008.

My understanding of history is that Taft did not care much for the Presidency, true, the same for R.B Hayes.

Taft in fact had what now would be a standard qualifying career for a Supreme Court Justice.

He started out as prosecutor, was named to the Superior Court of Cincinnati, was named Solicitor General, and was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. It was only after his Presidency that he became a law professor and also president of the American Bar Association. Nobody at the time argued that he wasn’t qualified.

Earl Warren has the least qualifying career in recent history, but he had experience as a D.A. and as Attorney General of California.

Obama has absolutely none of that. He was never even an actual professor. (He was a Visiting Fellow and a Senior Lecturer.) I wouldn’t call him qualified and I think mentioning his name for the position is as silly as mentioning either of the Clintons.

Another problem would be that Obama would have to recuse himself from a lot of cases in which he’d have direct action on, either for or against it. However, I’d love to have him on the SCOTUS and pull a Scalia and just refuse to recuse himself on some things

Sure, he’s smart and well read on the issues. He’s not enough of a civil libertarian for my tastes, but he’d be better than most of the current Court.

But, he did have prior judicial experience.

There’s Elena Kagan. She never served as a judge prior to being appointed to the Supreme Court and her career as a lawyer was pretty minimal. While she has a law degree, her career was mostly as a law professor and political staffer.

We’re taking about an appointment here not an elected office. Is this the right forum ?

These questions keep coming up, about prominent Democrats appointing each other to the Supreme Court if they get the chance. I’ve never heard the idea floated seriously. Is this some conspiracy theory from Free Republic or something?

I think it’s just Democratic pundit masturbation.

Forget Scalia. You can go all the way back to John Marshall for precedent. Marshall was practically a co-defendant in the Marbury case but he not only didn’t recuse himself, he wrote the decision.