The musings of one Andrew Langer - defender of liberty, passionate protector of individual rights, foodie. (Note: Said Musings of Andrew Langer are his own, and the views represented herein are likewise his views, and not the views of any other people, entities, foodstuffs, etc [unless otherwise specifically and explicitly noted].)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

My "Carnac the Magnificent" Prediction for Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's Successor....

This is no joke. I have in my hands the envelope containing my outside-the-box prediction for Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement on the high court.

I'm sorry I've been out for a couple of days - I've been in New York at a family barbecue, and was en route when Justice O'Connor's resignaton was announced. In speaking with a good friend, he credited me with my prediction several weeks ago that O'Connor would resign, possibly before the Chief Justice. His only criticism of me was that I offered my prediction with no vitriol.

I told him that since Justice O'Connor had authored my favorite Supreme Court decision (yes, I am a geek with a favorite Supreme Court decision), I've always had a soft spot in my heart for her. That decision, 1992's New York v United States, 505 US 144 (1992), is a seminal description of our nation's federalist structure, and lays out some of my core beliefs regarding how this nation ought to be governed. Plus, O'Connor's been on the right side of some other courageous high court decisions: Lopez, which overturned the Gun Free School Zones Act and thus underscored that there were limits to federal power; Printz, which held that local authorities couldn't be used as proxies for federal law enforcement agents simply because federal laws compelled them to be.

Now, I'm not in favor of guns being near schools, but I am of the belief that the federal government simply doesn't have any business asserting authority in this manner.

Anyhow, so I've always liked Justice O'Connor, and I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to write on Friday.

But such things allow for one to ruminate on current events, and so I've been turning over in my head possible replacements.

I think that we're going to have to wait for the Chief Justice to step down before we get our much-expected male nominee who will be of hispanic descent. I don't know any conservative or libertarian justices who are hispanic women (there might be a number of them, I am simply unfamiliar with them if there are), and I believe that President Bush will nominate a woman to replace Justice O'Connor, the first woman justice. (Incidentally, there could be another resignation if the Chief Justice resigns. Someone posed the theory to me recently that Justice Scalia might resign if he weren't elevated to the position of Chief Justice, which, while only being a theory is one that makes sense to me. - so we might get two more bites at this apple [so judge Alex Kozinski does have a shot!]).

I think that while the President might have liked to nominate Judge Janice Rogers Brown to the high court, that ship has already sailed - and as I was contemplating all of this, a thought came to me....

If the President wanted to keep things simple, he'd nominate a woman from the west. Someone who while conservative in many respects, has long been at home in libertarian and free-market circles. Someone who is more moderate on issues like abortion. Someone who has already been confirmed by a more liberal senate...

And so I offer the envelope...

I predict that Gale A. Norton of Colorado, currently the Secretary of the Interior, will be nominated and confirmed to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the United States Supreme Court.

Norton doesn't come without controversy, but she's weathered that. Though someone who preached Randian philosophies in her youth, she tempered that rhetoric as a way of being more pragmatic when she stepped into party politics. While the left have vilified her for her pro-property rights stances, and certain feminist organizations have tried to paint her has anti-women, she has also been criticized by some on the right for her pro-choice opinions.

And as I said, she's weathered a Senate confirmation process. While the administration is ready to fight for this nominee, they ultimately want to prevail - especially with an even-more- contentious Chief Justice nomination fight a virtual certaintly.

Plus, and let's not overlook this - Norton's on an inside track. Karl Rove advised her during her ultimately unsuccessful Senate bid, and the DC rumor mill has her wanting a judgeship.

Justice Norton. It even sounds like it's already happened.

Oh, and she'd be on the rights side of a Kelo decision.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess you were wrong.

December 01, 2005 10:41 PM

Blogger Andrew Langer said...

As were 99.99% of the other folks who were predicting the initial nominee.

What I was trying to do, really, was to create a buzz here in DC - to try and get folks to think "outside the box" about a potential nominee.

One well-respected GOP activist and legal scholar (who teaches at a local law school) called my suggestion "an inspired choice."

Even though the prediction was wrong, I'm happy to have made it given the discussions it prompted.

December 02, 2005 9:56 AM

Blogger Andrew Langer said...

Oh, and thanks for going back into the archives and reading one of the early posts!

December 02, 2005 9:57 AM


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