The Washington Post: Supreme Court Justice Barack Obama?
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.
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.
Think about it. Though Obama has struggled to find his footing in the White House, his education, temperament and experience make him ideally suited to lead the liberal wing of the court, especially at a time when a narrow conservative majority seems increasingly intent on challenging progressive economic reforms for the first time since the New Deal. Obama is clearly eager to take on the four truly conservative justices — Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — as his State of the Union smackdown suggests. But as president, he’s constrained by that pesky separation of powers. So what better way to engage the fight than to join the bench?
Having run in the Washington Post back on February 21, this story is already more than a week old, yet last night I received a barrage of e-mails about it. I’m guessing that the renewed attention has something to do with the oral arguments in McDonald v. Chicago, the first big gun rights case to come in the aftermath of the Heller decision, coming before the Court now.
(By the way, for a detailed treatment of McDonald and of the incorporation of the Second Amendment in the aftermath of Heller, check out the piece I put together last year, now in A.R. Essentials.)
One of the more interesting facets of this article, just sort of wandering in the background, is that a liberal newspaper would essentially come out and admit that President Obama has failed as president of the United States and is in need of a new gig at public expense. Look for yourself — the Post clearly says that Obama’s education, temperament and [lack of] experience is more befitting a liberal Supreme Court Justice than American chief executive. That the Post admits as much is absolutely flabbergasting.
The obvious question being asked by the piece, of course, is whether Obama would be a good fit on the Court. While the very idea of Barack Obama serving a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court and shaping the nation from under a black robe might be enough to make many folks’ skin crawl, I have a slightly different opinion.
I, for one, would love to see Barack Obama on the Supreme Court. I just don’t think, ideological slant or otherwise, he really has a grasp of the law or of the Constitution, the document he believes to be “deeply flawed.” Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Alito, Thomas and especially Antonin Scalia would absolutely wipe the floor with him intellectually.
Moreover, nothing I’ve seen from Barack Obama the President shows that he is particularly adept at building consensus, which is a must for any Justice regardless of ideological perspective.
Bring it on. If the left wants to nominate Obama as some sort of living memorial, they should go for it. And if, at some point down the road, I were to have the chance to vote up or down on Barack Obama’s confirmation, barring a significant ideological shift in the makeup of the Court, I would consider voting “up” in a heartbeat. The same goes for Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano, whose name pops up each time we’re reminded of Justice Stevens’ age or Justice Ginsburg’s health, and who has certainly proven herself to be anything but an intellectual powerhouse.
After all, if there’s going to be a committed leftist on the bench, why not let it be a completely ineffective one?