Saturday, November 06, 2004

McConnell for Chief Justice

Some law professors are supporting Michael McConnell (formerly a law professor and now a 10th Circuit judge) for the position of Chief Justice. Michael Rappaport says:
McConnell would be likely to be confirmed. Democrats could do far worse, from their perspective, than a nominee who has integrity, is collegial, and respects those who disagree with him. In fact, McConnell's personality seems to be a perfect fit with the job of Chief Justice.
Eugene Volokh says that "Michael McConnell, a leading constitutional scholar who has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit since January 2003, would make a great Supreme Court Justice (in particular, Chief Justice, when the spot opens up)," and cites an earlier essay in which he listed McConnell as one of five nominees who would be "tremendous additions to the court, and important contributions to George W. Bush’s legacy -- justices who would be remembered for decades as first-rate minds and first-rate judges."

For what it's worth, let me add my voice of support. McConnell was one of the best professors I had in law school. He was visiting at Harvard that term, and taught a class on Religion and the First Amendment.

Appointing McConnell would have lots of advantages for Bush. There’s no doubt that McConnell would enjoy the support of evangelicals -- as he did during his 10th Circuit confirmation and when being considered for Solicitor General. He’s a committed Christian and, while able to engage in private practice, was the nation's leading advocate for religious freedom.

But McConnell also has the advantage of being known by left and right as a soft-spoken, modest, conciliatory, and generous man with an extraordinarily gifted mind. On his nomination to the 10th Circuit, more than 300 academics -- including liberals such as Cass Sunstein, Larry Tribe, Akhil Amar, Saul Levmore, Elana Kagan, Suzanna Sherry, Tony Kronman, and Larry Kramer, to name a few -- supported him “enthusiastically.” Some of these folks might back away from him when it comes to a Supreme Court nomination. But it would be hard for them to do much to oppose him vigorously, given their earlier support. And the fact that so many on left and right have recognized his talents and character would give the President -- and people like Arlen Specter -- cover. Indeed, McConnell would even meet Specter’s criterion for a judge who holds the potential for “greatness.”

In short, with his mind, character, and consensus-building touch, it’s hard to imagine a better Chief Justice than Michael McConnell.

UPDATE: Bill Kristol has now actually predicted that McConnell will be nominated for the Chief Justice slot. This is a good sign for McConnell supporters.

6 Comments:

Blogger Coop said...

I completely agree. One would be hard-pressed to find someone better fit for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court--or the position of Chief Justice, for that matter--than Judge Michael McConnell. He has the temperment, a stellar resume, and an excellent legal mind. Not to mention that his legal scholarship has been outstanding.

5:03 PM  
Blogger Matt Evans said...

Here's to hoping that Bush nominates McConnell for Chief Justice (liberals would have a hard time rejecting McConnell for his conservatism, given that he's replacing Rehnquist) and delays nominating a hispanic until a second vacancy; assuming of course that the first vacancy is Rehnquist's.

7:50 PM  
Blogger The Reluctant Lawyer said...

Will he vote to overturn Roe? I think he will but do we have any assurance that he would do so. Has he written on it?

12:42 PM  
Blogger The Reluctant Lawyer said...

Nevermind should have googled him first...

12:46 PM  
Blogger paul said...

It's going to be J Michael Luttig. He's the youngest of the possibilites, most reliably conservative, and certain to get a vote because of the story of his father being killed in front of his wife in their driveway. How could Dems deny him an up and down vote?

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOW ANYONE CAN SUPPORT A FORMER LAW CLERK OF BRENNAN IS BEYOND UNDERSTANDING. SO MCCONNELL IS A NICE PERSON AND A GOOD PROFESSOR, BUT NO PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE IN THE NON-GOVERNMENT PRACTICE AND NO TRIAL COURT EXPERIENCE, EITHER. THE COURT NEEDS A PROVEN LAWYER-TRIAL COURT JUDGE TO LEAD IT; AND GOD KNOWS THERE IS A HUGE RESERVOIR OF THAT TALENT AVAILABLE.

12:12 PM  

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