Tuesday, March 08, 2016

U.S. SUPREME COURT - President's Short-List

aka "Thwarting Republican Obstructionism"

"SHORTLIST SURFACES FOR COURT VACANCY" by Amy Goldstein, San Diego Union-Tribune 3/8/2016

NOTE:  This is from the online version of the newspaper, therefore no article link.


Judges appear scant on discernible ideology with limited judicial records

The White House is considering nearly a half-dozen relatively new federal judges for President Barack Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court, focusing on jurists with scant discernible ideology and limited judicial records as part of a strategy to surmount fierce Republican opposition.  As Obama prepares for what probably will be his last opportunity to try to shape the high court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the president faces an unprecedented hurdle, with the Senate’s GOP majority vowing to ignore any nominee he proposes.

Based on interviews with legal experts and others, including some who have spoken in recent days with Obama administration officials involved in the vetting process, the president is leaning toward a sitting federal judge to fill the vacancy— and probably one the Senate confirmed with bipartisan support during his tenure.  These insiders, who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations, noted that the administration is winnowing its list of candidates— but could add more.

The candidates under consideration include two judges who joined the influential U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2013, Sri Srinivasan and Patricia A. Millett; Jane L. Kelly, an Iowan appointed that year to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit; Paul J. Watford, a judge since 2012 on the California-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit; and a lower-court judge, Ketanji Brown Jackson, appointed in 2013 to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Each candidate would offer a distinctive attribute fora president with a penchant for fostering diversity.  Srinivasan would be the high court’s first Asian American and first Hindu.  Kelly would be the first with a public defender’s background.  Watford or Jackson would add a second African-American to the court.  And as with Obama’s last nominee in 2010, Justice Elena Kagan, Millett would increase the number of women on the nine- member court.

None has carved out a distinct identity in their views on the role of law or their positions on any divisive legal question facing the nation and the courts, according to an examination of the judges’ public statements and writings, their mentors and their career paths.

In the current climate of acrid partisanship, White House officials regard the opaqueness of their views as a selling point, say those familiar with the administration’s thinking.

White House officials have declined to discuss details of the president’s decision-making, other than to say that Obama intends to make a timely nomination.  A White House spokeswoman, Brandi Hoffine, added: “The list is not closed at this point, and the president continues to review materials on various potential nominees.”

Another name being vetted is one with a longer judicial record: Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  He is a moderate who has served on the court for nearly two decades and was considered by Obama for a previous Supreme Court vacancy.

IMHO:  For Republican obstructionist NOT to even interview nominees is an insult to the Presidency (not Obama) and the Constitution.  President Obama is only doing what our Constitution requires of any President.  Republicans need not approve Obama's nominee, but they need to respect the Constitution and the process.

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