Remember the movie, “A Fish Called Wanda”? At the end of the movie, Michael Palin runs over John Cleese while screaming “R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-venge!!!!!!!!? Revenge is a dish best served cold. This is how the Democrats get even for all the obstruction that Republicans have engaged in the last eight years.
It seems like all I’ve heard for the last eight years is “when do we get rid of that Kenyan?” Well, it looks like you might get him out of the White House, but not out of D.C. Since he has said that he intends to stay in the area (and has already rented a house) until his youngest daughter finishes high school, he needs something to do. Write his memoirs? Plenty of time for that. Start a foundation? Too Clintonesque. Work for Habitat for Humanity? No that’s Jimmy Carter’s gig. Obama is still a young man. He has a wealth of experience. As it turns out, there might be a job open immediately when he leaves office in January of 2017: Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court!
It is well known that the Republican controlled U.S. Senate has refused to consider Chief Judge Merrick Garland, Obama’s appointment to the seat vacated upon Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. They show no sign of changing this position which means that if Hillary Clinton wins the election for President of the United States, she will then be able appoint someone to fill that seat. If the U.S. Senate is controlled by members of the Democratic Party, they can change the rules to allow Supreme Court nominees to be confirmed by a majority vote rather then the 60 vote super majority now required. A President Clinton could appoint President Obama and the Senate could avoid the committee clearance and debate as a matter of comity and simply take a vote. Voila – Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Justice Obama!
This has happened before. William Howard Taft served as President of the United States from 1909 until 1913 and, as Chief Justice of the United States from 1921 – 1930. Taft is an interesting character. He never really wanted to be President. He always wanted to be Supreme Court Chief Justice. Coming from a prominent Cincinnati family he attended Yale and University of Cincinnati Law School. He always coveted a job on the High Court but was unable to be in the right place at the right time for the appointment. He received some great conciliation prizes. Unites States Solicitor General, Judge on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and Governor General of the Philippines were on his resume before the idea of being President entered his mind.
His friendship with President Teddy Roosevelt allowed him to receive the Republican nomination for President in 1908. He defeated William Jennings Bryant and served one term as President, losing an election for a second term to Woodrow Wilson. He taught at Yale until President Warren G. Harding appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1921. He served until health issues forced him to resign in 1930. He died shortly after.
Would Obama want that? Yes. While the Supreme Court is work, it’s not 24/7 like being President. The Supreme Court picks the cases it wants to hear. Each justice has a number of clerks to help him research and write case opinions. Compared to being President, it’s positively nine to five.
Obama’s background must be considered too. He went to Harvard Law School which is the gold standard for Law Schools. While there, he was President of the prestigious Harvard Law Review; the first African American to hold such a position. What did he do after graduation? He moved to Chicago and taught at another prestigious Law School: University of Chicago School of Law. What did he teach? Constitutional Law! For twelve years! That is basically the study of decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court! Even without his political career, that is the type of pedigree a President looks for in a Supreme Court Justice.
Obama will only be 56 years old after his term as President is over. Taft was 64 when he was appointed. Merrick Garland is 62. Would Hillary Clinton do it? Why not. She may well have a number of appointments to make on the high court, with the ages of five justices being 83, 79, 77, 67, and 66 respectively.
Its an interesting thought and there is precedent. And wouldn’t you pay to see Mitch McConnell’s face trying to explain why the Republicans’ refused to consider Merrick Garland? Stay tuned.