A completely Unproven and Totally Speculative Theory
With today's selection of Judge Chertoff to head the Department of Homeland Security a question and then a thought came to my mind. The question is, why would anyone give up a life tenure on the Court of Appeals (especially if one was appointed to it less than 2 years ago) for an uncertain and politcially charged world of the Presidential Cabinet?!
Although certainly prestigious, the Cabinet provides neither the job security nor the intellectual challenge of the judicial work. And of course it is signifcantly more hectic. Which in turn brings me to my thought. Could it be that Mr. Chertoff is being groomed for the Supreme Court?
It is well known that President Bush selects individuals for important positions largely on the basis of trust and loyalty. Having Judge Chertoff in Washington, D.C., in a position of high sensitivity will undoubtebly give Bush the opportunity to see if he trusts him enough for the Supreme Court appointment. An additional benefit is that Judge Chertoff would not produce partisan rancor. He was confirmed to be Asistant Attorney General by a vote of 95-1 and Circuit Judge by a vote of 88-1. He is liked by Democratic Senators Jon Corzine and Frank Lautenberg, and was well regarded by fmr. Senator Bill Bradley. So he may sail through the Senate. And if someone like Stevens retires (where the replacement would not have to be rock-ribbed conservative in order to keep the Court in place or move it to the right) Chertoff may be a perfect choice.
None of this theorizing has any basis in any actual fact (beyond the fact that Judge Chertoff, President Bush, and the Supreme Court do exist, and that Judge Chertoff was indeed selected to be the next DHS Secretary).