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The once-and-never Justice Clinton

Has there ever been a briefer boomlet than the speculation that President Obama would name Hillary Rodham Clinton to succeed John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court? One wonders if Clinton wouldn't have liked to luxuriate in the scenario a bit before the White House announced that Obama "thinks Secretary Clinton is doing an excellent job as Secretary of State and wants her to remain in that position."

Still, Clinton is an astute enough politician to recognize a fact that eludes some who advocate for the appointment of a politician, rather than a cloistered appeals court judge, to the impending Stevens vacancy: Politicians have longer and messier paper trails than judges. In Hillary's case, the paper includes -- according to a recent book -- a draft indictment by Whitewater prosecutors. (Remember Whitewater?)

But any politician named to the court would provide critics with a mother lode of oppo research. To be elected governor or senator, you must raise money, including money from the special interests Obama has been demonizing. Governors tend to preside over large Cabinets, and the law of averages guarantees that some of those Cabinet officials will go bad big-time. Senators and members of the House cast votes that can easily be wrenched from their context.

Those who pine for the real-life perspective of a politician-turned-justice must face the fact that two hurdles stand in the way of a return to that past practice: the current partisan polarization over court appointments and the higher (if sometimes hypocritical) ethical standards against which politicians are measured, and often found wanting. Judges are a lot safer.

--Michael McGough
 

Comments () | Archives (3)

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David Lee Evans

Hard to fathom this rumor, while such a selection would not be in the same cronyism categories as a Harriet Miers selection, the confirmation process, would be a blood bath. Mrs. Clinton expertise in constitutional law could serve this great nation well; lets not forget her legal activities in the Nixon investigations,
but perhaps those skills might still be put to better uses in the near future. We have a war in Iraq and Afghanistan and now
she is in a position to directly affect peace for these regions. With the proper resources, intelligence and support these wars should
have ended long ago, in a forgone conclusion, they have not. So who would be better suited, to spearhead an investigation
on "whys and whats" for the reasons to justify those two wars, and even worse, why are we not winning these "endless wars."
To answer these questions, It will take some a person like Mrs. Clinton, a person with keen insight and a general skepticism of Washington politics, don't look to foreign policies for the answers to these questions, look to domestic agendas. If the truth events were ever known, I suspect also there will be bi-partisan supports, for both Democrats and Republican would have an ax to grind, because to some extend both parties have been duped.

GordonSantaMonica

Are we really surprised about this Possibility??????? I don't think soooo. This might be fun to watch. Of course if the President does nominate Hillary and then loses he will possibly lose a pretty good Secretary of State, and his leadership in terms of selection of individuals for important positions in government. OHHHH the political spinners are going to have fun with this. Sounds like the movies ... "Kill Bill one and two"

john

Please keep this woman out of the country! She has not done a positive thing since moving into her present position and that is just fine with me. I think Obama likes to have her where he can keep an eye on her and tell her what to do. That won't happen if he appoints her to the bench.


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.



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