Uniquely accomplished Twitter egg and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has died. And now, our hearts and Twitter feeds are weighed down by one, big question: Who is Obama going to try to sneak past a stonewalling Senate?
Because with Scalia’s death, an already frustrating political climate is about to become an absolute nightmare. But whether or not the Senate actually succeeds in blocking Obama’s imminent nominee, Obama will still have to nominate someone to take his place.
Right now, it seems like Obama’s best best would be nominating a moderate-ish Circuit Court judge. After all, the less cause the GOP has to complain the better. Only time will tell, but for now, here’s a few possible contenders for Scalia’s recently vacated throne.
Jeffrey Toobin, one of the foremost legal writers in the country, seems to think that Judge Sri Srinivasan of the DC Circuit Court has the best shot. As Toobin wrote in The New Yorker before Srinivasan was actually confirmed:
The D.C. Circuit has long operated as a Supreme Court farm team (John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg played their AAA ball there), and Republicans have worked with zeal, and amazing success, to keep Obama from placing a single judge on that court. Just last month, Caitlin Halligan, an eminently qualified New York prosecutor whose confirmation had been shamefully blocked by Senate Republicans for more than two years, withdrew her candidacy. Srinivasan is next up for consideration.
Srinivasan already passed one test against the GOP, which makes him perhaps Obama’s safest bet.
The former Attorney General has previously said that, if presented with the job, he would respond with “you need to pick somebody who’s a) younger and b) who’s a lot more interested.” But that was nearly a year ago—it’s anyone’s game now.
Kelly, a more moderate and thus Republican-palatable option, was actually in Obama’s class at Harvard Law. The Senate confirmed her as a U.S. Circuit Judge to the Court of Appeals just a few years ago, and she’s beloved by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, otherwise known as the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Patricia Ann Millett
Millett was, according to Toobin, one of the least controversial judges recently confirmed to the D.C. Circuit. Like Kelly, she’s more moderate but also comes with the added bonus of being notoriously military-family friendly. And what Republican senator wouldn’t love that.
Harris is the current Attorney General of California and the author of a book that “broke racial barriers,” which is part of what prompted SCOTUSBlog to name her “the female Barack Obama.” Plus, Obama thinks she’s hot.
Barron was the acting assistant attorney general for the first two years Obama was in office. He was approved as a Circuit Judge in U.S. Court of Appeals in May of 2014, so he’s successfully passed the Senate test once. Under different circumstances, being a white male might make him an unlikely candidate for a Court that desperately needs some diversity, but if we’re looking to get someone—anyone—past the GOP, Obama might have to make some concessions.
At least it’ll make President Trump happy.
Update 8:07 p.m.:
Reportedly, this may be Obama’s current shortlist.
Or not! Who knows.