Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Will Obama Become the Next William Howard Taft?

Bookmark and Share

Did the president hint at his next career ambition of becoming a Supreme Court justice during a recent news conference?

barackobama10.jpgDuring Barack Obama's press conference last Friday the issues surrounding the sequester took center stage.

But the president also took questions on other topics, including one from a reporter on the Proposition 8 case soon to be heard before the Supreme Court.

That reporter also asked a follow-up about why the administration does not argue marriage is a right that should be available to all Americans.

His response?

"And what we've said is, is that same-sex couples are a group, a class that deserves heightened scrutiny, that the Supreme Court needs to ask the state why it's doing it. And if the state doesn't have a good reason, it should be struck down. That's the core principle as applied to this case. Now, the Court may decide that if it doesn't apply in this case, it probably can't apply in any case. There's no good reason for it. If I were on the Court, that would probably be the view that I'd put forward."

Obama on the Court?

Was the president making a theoretical point, or did he just let something slip?

For one, Obama will exit elected office at a very young age - just 55 years old in January 2017.

Interestingly, that is just one year shy of when another former president left the White House - William Howard Taft in 1913.

Some eight years later, Taft became the 10th Chief Justice of the United States in 1921.

Of course, Taft had also served eight years earlier in his career as a judge for the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, while Obama's legal background is that of a lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago for about a decade before winning his Senate seat in 2004.

If Obama does have ambitions to one day serve on the Court, it will require not simply an opening on the Court while a Democrat serves in the White House, but also someone willing to depart from recent tradition - like Obama did with Elena Kagan - and appoint a nominee who had never previously served as a judge.

Kagan's confirmation ended a string of 11 consecutive Justices since 1975 who had prior judicial experience on their resumé - 10 of whom had served on the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Overall, more than three dozen Supreme Court justices previously never served as judges including John Jay, John Marshall, and Louis Brandeis as well as notable recent justices such as Byron White, Lewis Powell, and William Rehnquist.

But in an era in which the Court is already viewed as too political, it is unlikely we will ever see another ex-president serve on it again.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Can Virginia Make it 10 in a Row as the Nation's Naysayer?
Next post: Norm Coleman: Minnesota's Forgotten Man?

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting