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February 21, 2010
Hey! Wouldn't Obama make a great Supreme Court Justice?
Obama for the Supreme Court? Jeffrey Rosen of the Washington Post:
He's too detached and cerebral . Too deferential to Congress. Too willing to compromise . And he's too much of a law professor and not enough of a commander in chief, as Sarah Palin recently admonished.Yes..his "legal reasoning, his pragmatism, his temperament" make him an ideal candidate? How absurd.
These are some of the qualities for which the president, rightly or wrongly, is criticized. They are also the qualities that make him well suited for another steady job on the federal payroll: Barack Obama, Supreme Court justice.
Obama's academic credentials for the court -- including serving as president of the Harvard Law Review and teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago -- are obvious. But it's his even temperament and low boiling point that seem tailor-made for the court at this polarized moment. Obama's patient courtship of the vain and wavering swing votes in the Senate (such as Joe Lieberman) during the health-care debate, for example, is ideal preparation for courting the vain and wavering swing vote on the court (Justice Anthony Kennedy). And Obama's detached and judicious disposition would equip him to challenge the conservative hothead, Scalia, without descending to his name-calling
I am sure I am not alone in failing to see how Barack Obama measures up to these qualities. The "smackdown" alone that Rosen mentions reveals he does not have the temperament, and then there are plenty of instances of his rush to judgment ("the cop acted stupidly") and his hectoring ("I am the only one standing between you and the pitchforks") and straw man arguments, his hyper-partisanship, his blame-shifting; and his history of misunderstanding the law.
He is on record of complaining about the restrictions the Constitution places in the way of politicians. "Empathy" does not make a great Supreme Court Justice. I could go on about one of the most ridiculous wastes of ink I have yet seen in the opinion pages of the Washington Post. He has overseen at the Department of Justice one of the most wrong-headed approaches towards interpreting and enforcing the laws of the United States and has refused to replace the Attorney General who has made one legal mistake after another.