The wacky, utterly speculative short list to replace Scalia

The wacky, utterly speculative short list to replace Scalia


And the circus has moved to the Supreme Court.

It was perhaps inevitable in this most untraditional election cycle that an opening on the most traditional of government bodies would lead to some zany speculation.

Sure, there are the predictable and impressive lists of candidates with actual experience as litigators, judges and legislators. But there is also the fun stuff — the wealth of suggestions, petitions and drumbeats for potential nominees whose main purpose is to fuel a farcical fire.

Lisa Belkin Supreme Court

(Yahoo News Illustration/AP)

Did you hear the one about how President Obama should nominate himself? Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief of the Huffington Post, laid this out in detail on Tuesday in a piece that has gotten nearly 30,000 social media shares. “There’s roughly a zero percent chance this’ll happen, but here’s why it makes sense,” Grim wrote, explaining it would “put the GOP in the position they’ve desperately wanted to be in since the man was inaugurated. They’d have the chance to vote him out of office.”

When asked to comment on the idea, White House spokesman Eric Schultz told Grim, “The press corps is officially unhinged.”

Which may or may not be a “no.”

If not himself, then maybe the president could nominate someone close to him. Perhaps just down the hall?

“He could appoint [Vice President Joe] Biden tonight if he wanted to,” a source identified as a “GOP aide” told the Washington Examiner this week, warning that Obama might try to sneak in a new justice during a Senate recess. (The White House has nixed the idea of a recess appointment.)

In a way, this fantasy dovetails with the idea that Obama would self-nominate. Because Biden is already 73, he would likely not serve for decades and could hold Obama’s place, allowing the president’s successor to nominate him in a few years. That’s what President William Howard Taft did, appointing Edward Douglass White as chief justice, knowing the man was in ill health. Then, when White died a decade later, Taft was nominated to take his place.

Conveniently, Hillary Clinton said a few months ago that she thinks Obama would make a good justice. Then again, she said that about Bill Clinton the last time she ran for president, but his name doesn’t seem to have come up much this time around.

While we are floating the names of relatives, consider Maryanne Trump Barry, a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in New Jersey. She is also Donald Trump’s sister. The current Republican frontrunner has said he believes his sister would make a “phenomenal” Supreme Court justice but also agreed appointing her would be a conflict of interest. That didn’t prevent his opponents from thrashing around over the possibility, though. “The one person he has suggested that would make a good justice is his sister,” Republican candidate Ted Cruz has warned. “She is a hardcore pro-abortion liberal judge.”

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