An Excellent Supreme Court Shortlist


Publish Date:
April 10, 2010
National Journal
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Lecturer Thomas Goldstein is quoted on the short list of candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court. Professor Pamela Karlan is also mentioned in the article:

With the long-expected announcement by Justice John Paul Stevens that he will retire by July, the coming summer could be dominated by a big confirmation battle — or perhaps just enlivened by a little skirmish, if President Obama picks a relatively uncontroversial nominee.

Many Republicans are spoiling for a fight to rev up their base for the coming elections. Some would depict any Obama nominee as an ultra-liberal eager to push the Court to the left, legislate from the bench, impose gay marriage by judicial decree, strip “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance, invent welfare rights, require government-funded abortions, and free terrorists.

If the president’s priority were to seize his last chance to get a crusading liberal onto the Court before the expected Democratic losses in November, he might choose State Department legal adviser Harold Koh or Stanford law professor Pam Karlan. Other possibilities include Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, all Democrats.

• Elena Kagan. The solicitor general is the “prohibitive front-runner,” wrote Tom Goldstein, a leading Supreme Court litigator and the founder of Scotusblog, in a widely read February 23 piece on his website. I would strike “prohibitive.”

Indeed, Goldstein wrote, “I don’t know anyone who has had a conversation with her in which she expressed a personal conviction on a question of constitutional law in the past decade.”

“After only Judge Wood, D.C. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland is the most respected Democratic appointee now on the bench,” as well as the most confirmable, Goldstein wrote. I rank Garland above Wood, given my preference for restrained, moderate consensus-builders. (Disclosure: Garland and I were Harvard Law School classmates and are friends.)

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