President Obama reportedly has narrowed his list of Supreme Court candidates to three. They are Sri Srinivasan, Merrick Garland, and Paul Watford. The first two serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Watford is on the Ninth Circuit.
Garland is the most interesting of the three. He’s left of center and bad on the Second Amendment, but not an out-and-out leftist. Moreover, he’s 63 years old and thus wouldn’t likely be on the Court nearly as long the other two, who are much younger. Compared to a nominee selected by Hillary Clinton next year, Garland would be good. Compared to a nominee selected by a Republican (even Donald Trump) next year, he’d be bad.
I suspect that Garland is head fake, sort of like when former Virginia governor Gerald Baliles kept appearing on Bill Clinton’s short list for attorney general. Everyone knew Clinton was going to appoint a woman, but the women he wanted for the job — Zoe Beard and Kimba Wood — kept running into ethical problems. Baliles stayed on the short list while new women appeared out of the blue. The process culminated in the selection of Janet Reno. Enough said.
Srinivasan would be a classic stealth nominee. Everyone knows he’s a leftist, but he hasn’t served as a judge long enough to leave much of a trail.
What little trail there is highlights his leftism. Srinivasan voted to deny a request for review of the the new EPA “clean power” regulations that would force power companies to fire thousands of employees while waiting for courts to determine the legality of the regulations. The Supreme Court ultimately granted the stay.
Srinivasan would be the first Asian-American and first Hindu on the Supreme Court. This fact plus his lack of a paper trail probably make him the favorite.
Srinivasan is said to be a friend of Ted Cruz from their time as clerks on the Fourth Circuit. That’s odd — his enemies keep saying that no one can stand Cruz. I guess smart non-Senators get along with Cruz well enough.
Watford, an African-American, also hasn’t been an appellate judge very long. However, as Carrie Severino has shown, he is what would have once been described as a standard ACLU liberal — “an anti-law enforcement extremist whose record on issues like illegal immigration and the death penalty makes it clear that he would push the Supreme Court to the far left.”
According to reports, Obama may announce the nominee as early as tomorrow. Regardless of whom he selects, the nominee is unlikely to get a hearing and is almost certain not to be confirmed this year.