I know that in my last post I specifically called for a former public defender for the Supreme Court. But since there is no chance in that happening, I decided to put out five specific names, none of whom (to my knowledge) are former public defenders. I believe that everyone below is qualified, though I admit that they too have an icicle’s chance in hell of nomination.
RALPH NADER-Legendary consumer rights lawyer, also –ran
Pros: Would be loads of fun in oral argument, would immediately start national conversation on consumer rights, would provide intellectual counterweight to Scalia and Thomas.
Cons: Abrasive personality; is a wild card in every sense. Filibuster guaranteed.
SPENCER OVERTON- Author of “Stealing Democracy,” founder of Demos, Professor at GW Law School.
Pros: Attuned to civil rights, reliable liberal, charming personality.
Cons: No judging experience; could be viewed as ideologue. Filibuster guaranteed.
NANCY GERTNER-Serves on Massachusetts Federal District Court, former defense lawyer
Pros: Known for thoughtful eloquent opinions, high intellectual caliber, reliable liberal, respected by colleagues.
Cons: Outspoken; controversial and headline-grabbing. Filibuster guaranteed.
MARGARET MARSHALL-Chief Justice, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, authored Goodridge same-sex marriage opinion.
Pros: Unsurpassed temperament, would be celebrated by GLBT community, has perspective of someone who grew up in apartheid South Africa, nomination process would show true colors of gay-bashers in US Senate.
Cons: Would create stir over Massachusetts law’s generosity to criminal defendants—could make my job harder. Filibuster guaranteed.
JERRY BROWN- California Attorney General, also-ran, Former Governor and Oakland mayor.
Pros: Would become “Justice Moonbeam,” high familiarity with state and local perspective on federalism issues, would raise profile of environment issue.
Cons: Not a team player; wants to run against Gov. Schwarzenegger. Filibuster guaranteed.