The U.S. Supreme Court justices are drawing nearer toward retirement: Ruth Bader Ginsburg just turned eighty-one; Antonin Scalia is seventy-eight; Anthony Kennedy is seventy-seven; and Stephen Breyer is seventy-five. If President Obama gets the opportunity to fill another Supreme Court vacancy, whom will he select?
Jeffrey Toobin recently penned a piece for The New Yorker called "The Supreme Court Farm Team," referring to federal judges Obama can choose from whom he appointed himself.
Among the "farm team" members Toobin lists is Judge David Barron of the First Circuit.
The Judiciary Committee approved Barron's nomination to the First Circuit on a party-line vote. He is slated to receive a vote in the full Senate before the mid-term elections. Triggering the nuclear option -- confirmation via a simple majority rather than the three-fifths vote formerly required to overcome a filibuster -- should guarantee his appointment.
If appointed to the First Circuit, Barron might be considered as a candidate for the Supreme Court. He's a Harvard man -- a Harvard College grad, Harvard Law grad and Harvard Law professor. We all know how much the Court loves Ivy Leaguers.
Though he offers little in diversity, he offers substantial legal experience on an array of issues. While serving as Acting Assistant Attorney General under Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in the Office of Legal Counsel, he produced memoranda on a slew of issues, including:
- Whether legislation to give Washington, D.C., a voting member of Congress was constitutional;
- Whether Obama's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause;
- Whether the Violence Against Women Act covered same-sex couples; and
- Whether it was legal to assassinate a terrorism suspect without trial.
But Barron has some stiff competition.
Other Potential Candidates
Toobin lists a few other Obama-appointed candidates the president would consider should a vacancy on the Court come about:
- Sri Srinivasan, age forty-seven, D.C. Circuit;
- Paul Watford, age forty-six, Ninth Circuit;
- Patricia Ann Millett, age fifty, D.C. Circuit (if Republicans take control of the Senate in the 2014 elections); and
- Jane Kelly, age forty-nine, Eighth Circuit (if Republicans take control of the Senate in the 2014 elections).
Overall, Toobin names 47-year-old Sri Srinivasan of the D.C. Circuit the front-runner for a Supreme Court position -- it's a widely held belief. Srinivasan would be the first Indo-American Supreme Court Justice. And he won confirmation to the D.C. Circuit last year by a vote of 97-0, making him a pretty safe pick.
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