As anyone reading this blog is already aware from Petr’s post, Antonin Scalia had died. Now we need to think about a replacement.
In the comments on that post, Lrphillips made a suggestion that really got me thinking: pick a sitting US Senator so GOP Senators will still vote for the nominee.
Great idea! I suggest Elizabeth Warren. A certain number of old-school GOP Senators would vote for her just for the sake of the Senate’s norms of collegiality. That practical consideration, all by itself, would be a solid reason to pick her. But going beyond that, she gets it.
Elizabeth Warren is the second most liberal member of the Senate, judging by both her rhetoric and her voting record. This places her substantially to the left of anyone else who might have a realistic chance of being confirmed. The problem with the typical Supreme Court justice is that the resume we generally expect of them is a very upper class resume. You have to go to an Ivy League law school, clerk for a federal judge or work for an elite law firm, then become a judge or a professor and move up the ranks that way to even have a chance. Seven out of the nine current Justices have held at least two of those four jobs, and all nine had held at least one before reaching SCOTUS. As a former Harvard Law professor, Senator Warren has the elite resume we demand of Justices, despite coming from a much more modest background on the ragged edge of the middle class. In a lot of ways, she would be a similar nominee to Sonia Sotomayor. She understands the law in terms of how it actually affects people, not in the clueless, abstract way that the more privileged Justices do.