Nomination Nation

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Monday, October 18, 2004

Crystal Balls

Today's issue of The Recorder contains two articles on potential Supreme Court nominees -- one for Bush, one for Kerry.

The Bush picks are largely unsurprising (Luttig, Wilkinson and Gonzales have been on everyone's short list for years). The author (a San Francisco IP lawyer -- not sure how he's qualified to predict things like this -- but then again, who am I?) also mentions two Bush Justice Department officials, former SG Ted Olson and former Deputy AG Larry Thompson as possible nominees. Both are interesting picks, but Olson, after barely sneaking by the Senate before, and Thompson, a Thomas-like conservative black lawyer, may face harsh confirmation battles.

The Kerry picks are a bit more interesting. Judges Tatel and Sotomayor, and former SG Drew Days, have all been mentioned before. But the last two -- California Chief Justice Ronald George (a Republican) and former Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan (a relative unknown in legal and political circles) -- seem to come from left field. Given the fact that nominees often come out of nowhere to surprise a lot of people, however, these authors (appellate attorneys from California) might be on to something.

4 Comments:

Blogger Tung Yin said...

Stanford Law School Dean Kathleen Sullivan (a relative unknown in legal and political circles)Um, Dean Sullivan may indeed be relatively unknown in political circles, but in legal circles, she's quite well known. Not just because she's the Dean of Stanford, but also having taken over the well-respected Con Law casebook by Gerald Gunther.

October 19, 2004 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I have to agree with the above comment. Saying that Kathleen Sullivan is even "relatively" unknown in legal circles is just plain ridiculous.

October 20, 2004 at 1:00 AM  
Blogger Senator Spectator said...

Point taken. I meant that she is not frequently talked about on the Hill and in Washington; as your comments indicate, legal academia is a different story, so I probably should have worded it differently.

But I stand by my point -- if the president nominates a law professor, this appears to the average American to be coming out of nowhere (unless it's someone who has creeped into the mainstream conscience, like maybe Larry Tribe or Alan Dershowitz). Sullivan may be well-known in legal circles, but she's probably not on the political radar screen as much as, say, Elena Kagan, who worked at the White House, or even Sunstein (OLC, seems to always be on the Hill testifying).

October 20, 2004 at 11:56 AM  
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October 6, 2005 at 5:57 AM  

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