Obama on the Supreme Court?

It struck me, and I wonder why it hasn’t been discussed more in the general media: if Hillary is elected, why not nominate Obama to join the Court? She may have opportunities past filling the Scalia vacancy, where I assume she would move forward with Merrick Garland.

I Googled and found this from a WaPo blog: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/13/could-president-obama-one-day-join-the-supreme-court/

In that article, they mention Hillary was asked at a Town Hall and praised the idea. Obama, when asked, said he needed time away from the bubble.

Although he has a law degree and was editor of his university law review – he’s never actually practiced law, has he? Let alone sat on the bench. I know it would not be unprecedented, but it seems as though Hillary would be able to find much more qualified (and less inflammatory) SC candidates.

It’s not like she’s going to have free reign to appoint anyone she wants. The GOP would certainly filibuster an Obama nomination, assuming the Dems have the senate majority.

A - he probably doesn’t want it, if nothing else because he doesn’t want to be low man on the totem pole. (The newest justice has to play gopher a lot, like making coffee and holding open the door. No, I’m not kidding.)

B - he’d have to recuse himself a lot, which would rather defeat the point much of the time (ok, he doesn’t HAVE to, but realistically he SHOULD).

C - He’s never sat on a bench before. Granted, he did teach constitutional law part-time for a bit, but there’s hundreds more qualified candidates.

D - It’s not a good use of his post-presidential time.

E - He might set a record for shortest Supreme Court tenure, as Michelle is definitely going to kill him when she finds out.

He was a junior associate for about four years. Which I don’t think particularly damages your point.

I say put Michelle on the Supreme Court instead.

He did practice at a law firm called Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. He worked there as an associate for three years, and of counsel for several years after that. Remember the 2008 attack about his representation of Tony Rezko?

This would be the big one. Not so much the being the junior justice, but because he just finished 8 years as a modern president stuck in the white house bubble and he’s going to want to be free of that for a while, and even if he gets that out of his system in just a couple of years I don’t think he’d want to get back into a different bubble. He probably wants to leave Washington, have a schedule of his own choosing if any kind of fixed schedule at all. Let’s say Hillary is in for 8 years, then maybe after 4 or more years he would consider it, but even then I’d still expect not. O think SC justice is the kind of thing career judges aspire to, doesn’t really sound like him.

The PolitFact article on that does not agree he “represented” Tony Rezko:

Doesn’t sound like something that qualifies you for the Supreme Court.

Dream big. First make him Governor-general of the Philippines, then bring him back for the Supreme Court, and so scoring a Full Taft.

I’m pretty sure he would [del]refuse to step on this land mine[/del]turn down such a generous offer.

Seems unlikely for all the reasons mentioned, AND a President Clinton will have better uses for her time and political capital than dealing with even-more-apoplectic Obama-haters in the Senate.

I was just correcting the error. I wasn’t trying to argue that his law firm experience qualifies him for the Supreme Court.

That said, I think it’s wrong to call him unqualified. He is a lawyer who has both practiced and taught law. And he also happens to have been both a Senator and President of the United States. Those experiences would be tremendously helpful to being a Supreme Court Justice.

But I would settle for a new judge who has done something substantial other than corporate law practice and appellate judging.

Yes, he is certainly qualified, and well above the minimal level of qualifications. I only see the political issues and his personal desires to be a question here.

Oh, for sure. Obama could no doubt do much more outside the Court than on it, and that alone is reason enough not to do it.

That said, I think someone with Obama’s temperament would be a great choice. Notwithstanding the GOP narrative over the last 8 years, he’s a natural mediator. I suspect there’s a little of that in Roberts too. I worry about the institutional legitimacy of the court, and I think we need to be thinking about justices who have the capacity to build consensus rather than ideological bomb-throwers.

Well as a constitutional lawyer he sure didn’t seem to understand the constitution as President. Like when he tried to give amnesty to about 5 million illegal immigrants and the Supreme Court him that no he couldn’t actually do that.

Anybody who can be nominated and confirmed is “qualified” in Constitutional terms. I don’t think you even need a law degree, or to be admitted to the bar anywhere.

But I agree with the consensus - he wouldn’t accept the nomination even if Hillary asked him. Neither he nor she needs the black eye when the nomination goes down in flames. The confirmation hearings would be sheer comedy gold, though.

“So, Mr. Obama, have you ever served as a judge?”


“Have you ever worked full-time as a lawyer?”


“Do you currently hold a license to practice law in any state?”


“Have you ever taught law?”

“Yes, I have done that.”

“Was that full-time?”

“No, that was part-time too.”

"You stated at one point

In the course of your preparation to teach Constitutional law, did you ever happen across a decision called Marbury v. Madison?"

“Hey, give me a break. I said it was part-time.”


I think it’s reasonable to expect a Supreme Court Justice to have worked in a courtroom before.

He has worked full-time as a lawyer. I don’t know why it’s so hard to accept that while arguing that he’s not otherwise qualified.

It’s reasonable. It’s just wrong. It’s like insisting that the head of NASA be an engineer. No doubt, understanding engineering is an important part of the job. But it is also possible to be qualified because of your extraordinary management skills, or some other set of qualifications. All the more so if NASA is governed by a council of nine people, and the other eight are all engineers.

When was the last Supreme with no court experience?

Because he didn’t work full-time as a lawyer. Part time isn’t full-time.

I believe I have explained this to you in the past. :shrugs: