Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Granholm for SCOTUS

It's interesting that, despite not being in the earliest lists, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm has evidently become a top contender for the new Supreme Court berth. It's interesting because I thought (and think) she's the most obvious choice for the job.

Why? Because the politics sort of work out, just as they did for Sotomayor. It's regrettable that personal narrative tends to dominate these affairs, but Granholm has a pretty good rags-to-riches story and is definitely a self-made person. She's a political figure, true, which opens up new attacks on whether she'll be a partisan justice (though I suppose the right will say that about anybody), but she's from a moderate/swing state and will therefore be tough to portray as a hard-core leftist, and there are advantages to being a political figure as well, such as media skills, for example. She's got lots of legal and governing experience, the latter of which has been sorely lacking since Sandra Day O'Connor left the bench. And she's only 51, which means she'd probably get a good 35-plus years on the Court, which is an important consideration.

Ultimately, though, Granholm's best asset would be leadership and people skills--must-haves for a successful politician, though evidently not common among justices. These could make her a consequential figure on the bench, a la Earl Warren, who was hardly the most brilliant legal mind nor the most eloquent speaker, but who was an extremely talented manager and people person and thus exercised great power on the bench. I'll confess to not knowing much about some of the short list contenders, but it strikes me that Diane Wood and Merrick Garland are perhaps a bit old to get the nod, and Janet Napolitano could have a bumpy ride when one considers her tenure as Homeland Security chief. I suspect it will be either Elena Kagan or Granholm getting the nod, with perhaps a slight advantage to the latter because the sales case is more straightforward. Also, Kagan might have problems with the left because of her record on civil liberties. Picking her might unleash some unsightly and unnecessary drama. Considering Obama team's lack of desire to court unnecessary drama (I believe he earned some sort of nickname to that effect?), Granholm stands out as the most obvious, qualified, and perhaps best pick.

So she's my prediction. Then again, my prediction record is spotty--I've guessed the outcomes of the past couple of elections right, but I have also guessed that Charlie Crist would be Obama's Republican successor in 2017. I suppose it's too soon to say, but that seems less likely than it did about a year ago.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.