Saturday, June 04, 2005


Still trying to stay away from the news, but I couldn't help seeing (and now recommending) this article about the possibility that Judge Michael McConnell might be nominated to the Supreme Court. Most of the article is informative and well-done, although this sentence was a bit bizarre:
McConnell and his wife moved from Chicago because they thought their three children should be raised in a more tranquil setting, though his detractors think it didn't hurt his judicial aspirations for him to become a constituent of powerful Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, now a big fan.
I asked McConnell in 1999 why he moved to Utah, and he spoke of how wonderful it was to be able to step outside his house and go hiking up into the mountains with his kids. It is just ludicrous to suggest -- as do these unnamed "detractors" -- that he gave up a tenured professorship at Chicago in 1997 (and an offer from Harvard in 2000, if I recall) so that he might become a "constituent" of Orrin Hatch, and thus might possibly have a minutely greater chance of being nominated to the Supreme Court 8 or 10 years down the road.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Judge McConnell, but you're being naive. He's a climber who has long wanted to be on the SCOTUS. As you well know, judges like Wilkinson have been crafting their opinions for 20 years in ways designed to catch the attention of the judge-selecting elites in DC. Judge McConnell may have genuinely wanted to be in Utah for the mountains, but it's anything but absurd to think that he also thought it was a clever career move. The man didn't ditch Chicago because he expected to be in the academy forever. Seriously, talk to your friends in Washington DC. There are guys in their 30s plotting moves all around the country to set themselves up for judicial appointments. And it will work.

Henry Clay

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How unusual it is for a Mormon to move to Utah. Practically unheard of. Must have been career related.

And after all, no one on the faculty of Chicago is ever appointed to the Court of Appeals. Best to move to Utah, and see what happens.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Stuart Buck said...

McConnell isn't Mormon.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Matt Evans said...

It's interesting that Anonymous assumed McConnell was Mormon. I can't think of any basis at all for that assumption except that McConnell lived in Utah.

Everyone knows that Utah-resident Robert Redford isn't Mormon, right?

8:04 PM  
Blogger P. G. said...

In slight defense of the stupid people who assume that anyone who moves to Utah must be either mormon or political... have you ever been to Utah? It's like the Hobbesian state of nature there. There's not a decent coffeeshop in all of Salt Lake City, and that's just a start. :-)

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As it happens, I was just unreliably informed by people associated with McConnell's former employer. No assumptions at all about people living in Utah, or moving to Utah, or anything else. Beautiful country and all that, and plenty of reason to move there. But specific conversations with people who should have known better led me to a conclusion that wasn't accurate. Mea culpa.

3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McConnell has clearly stated that while he thinks Roe was wrongly decided, he also thinks it should be respected as stare decisis. This is the legal equivalent of someone like John Kerry saying he is personally against abortion, but supports abortion rights.

For example, McConnell volunteered the following under oath during his confirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate:

"At the time Roe v. Wade came down, it was striking the statutes of at least 45, if not all 50 of the States of the Union. Today it is much more reflective of the consensus of the American people on the subject.

I believe that the doctrinal analysis offered in Planned Parenthood v.Casey has connected the right much more persuasively to traditional legal materials, and then the weight of stare decisis simply indicates that this is an issue that is settled. It is as thoroughly settled as any issue in current constitutional law."

There are some Republicans who agree with this. But conservatives don't. They expect Bush to honor his promise to pick someone like Scalia or Thomas.

Andy Schlafly

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:33 PM  

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