Fri 17 Sep, 2004 05:41 am
Whichever candidate is elected president in November, he will appoint up to four new justices to the Supreme Court. I have read many articles mentioning this fact, and they often stress it in order to point out just how important this year's election is. So I would like to get an impression of the potential nominees on either side before the mud-fights in the press begin. But apparently I can't: few of the articles I mentioned -- in fact, none that I've read -- told me anything specific about whom the Democrats or the Republicans might nominate.
For the most part, I'm sure that's on purpose. Supreme Court appointments are inevitably partisan and frequently hostile, so it's obvious that neither side wants to harm their candidates' chances by naming their names too early. On the other hand, every field has its stars, every team wants their star judges appointed, and I bet that the legal community knows who the stars among the federal judges are on either side.
With this in mind, I have several questions for the legal experts who frequent this forum: Who, in your opinion, are the top four candidates a president Kerry would nominate? Who would be President Bush's top four choices? And where can I read some of the opinions they wrote so I get an impression of how they think?
I'm aware that you may not be able to answer these questions as precisely as I asked them. But I don't know anything about this subject yet, so any hunch you can give me would be helpful. Thanks!
what I had in mind, and I have lots of reading fodder for the weekend now. Thanks, Jespah!
You're right, Thomas: candidates for the supreme court are never really known in advance. It's somewhat like candidates for pope: names are mentioned, but no one is actually running for office.
Jespah's links are the most extensive lists of potential nominees I've ever seen. The only person that has been mentioned frequently is Alberto Gonzalez, the White House chief counsel. He has, however, become embroiled in the "torture" memo debate, so his prospects are no longer as good as they once were. It's not surprising that, among the possible Bush nominees, are a number of judges from the 4th and 5th circuit courts: they are the most conservative federal appellate courts in the country. I imagine that a President Kerry would nominate judges from the 2d, 9th, and D.C. circuits, or perhaps judges from state supreme courts.
The question of potential Supreme Court nominees has become more urgent since I started this thread. And since many of the people on Jespah's lists are sitting judges in lower courts, I've been googling around for their names plus "delivered the opinion of the court" to get an impression of their decisions on constitutional laws. This Google search turned up decisions by the judges alright, but only few of them were cases bearing specifically on constitutional law. Does one of you know away to effectively narrow a Google search to constitutional law cases, or does an efficient search of that kind require a Westlaw account? (which I'm too stingy to buy)
Google isn't really your friend in this situation methinks.
If you know which judges you are looking for and what court they currently sit on you'd be better off, IMO, using Findlaw and searching the decisions of the appropriate court.
You can find the decisions of the District Courts and Courts Of Appeals through this page:
Once you select the court you want, you can do a search on the name you want in the "Full Text Search" option.
Thanks, Fishin! That looks a lot better.
Slate has another review of likely Bush nominees for the Supreme Court. It may not tell much new to the lawyers here, but it was interesting for me.
George Bush will announce at 9pm EST today
whom he will nominate to succeed O'Connor. The word is that it'll be Edith Brown Clement
: It looks like Judge Clement shares your views on the commerce clause:
GDF Realty Investments, Ltd. v. Norton, 362 F.3d 286 (5th Cir. 2004): Judge Clement joined Judge Edith Hollan Jones's dissenting opinion from the denial of rehearing en banc. The opinion argued that the Endangered Species Act could not be applied to protect a rare species of underground bug since this act of preservation was not connected with "any sort of commerce, whether tourism, scientific research, or agricultural markets."
U.S. v. McFarland, 311 F.3d 376 (CA5 2002): A defendant who had been convicted of violating the Hobbs Act challenged his conviction on the grounds that the evidence against him was insufficient to establish a nexus to interstate commerce. Judge Clement joined Judge Garwood's dissent from the en banc opinion, arguing that Congress lacked power under the Commerce Clause to reach local robberies under the Hobbs Act.Link
ABC News is saying (as of 6PM EST) that Clement has stated that she is NOT the nominee.
I guess we'll all know for sure in 3 hours...
I am not sure I understand the abortion entry: Was he saying that a doctor at a federally funded hospital may choose not to talk about abortion, or that he may not choose to talk about it? The latter would strike me as repressive to the point of absurdity, the former as conservative in a non-alarming way.
The case was based on a federal rule stated that funds given to clinics under Title X of Federal Code could be "used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning." The clinics argued that they were being discriminated against. The USSC ruled that there was no requirement under Title X that the government fund them and that the government was free to decide to fund some clinics while not funding others. See the decision
I've yet to see anything that outlines exactly what his input on this case was. He was one of a team of 7 that argued the goverment's side of the case (Ken Starr was the lead).
What are the odds SD-O will change her mind about retiring? I can dream, I suppose.
When O'Connor resigned, the reason she gave was that her husband of 53 years is seriously ill and that she wanted to be with him for whatever time he has left. I believe her, so wouldn't expect that she'd `let down' her husband to pursue the chief justice job.
Like I said on bvt's topic, I bet Scalia is monumentally PO'd. It was pretty common knowledge that he wanted to be Chief Justice.
Oh? I thought Scalia was actually running for god.