I’m taking some time off from brooding about Arlen Specter to try to identify possible Supreme Court nominees that might come before his (or someone else’s committee). I came up with four names to start the discussion. They are all appeals court judges from my area (the District of Columbia or the Fourth Circuit which covers the mid to mid-south Atlantic region) because I confined myself to judges whose work I’m reasonably familiar with. It’s worth noting, though, that the Court presently does not contain any judges from the South, so the Fourth Circuit (the most conservative court of appeals) should be considered fertile ground. My colleagues should feel free to suggest candidates from the Midwest or elsewhere.
My four candidates are:
A. Raymond Randolph of the D.C. Circuit. Former key member of the Solicitor General’s office (the arm of the Justice Department that argues cases before the Supreme Court). A lawyer’s lawyer and, in my view, a judge’s judge.
J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the Fourth Circuit. Currently the Chief Judge of that Court, and thus a nice fit for Chief Justice if Rehnquist retires. Wilkinson is a protege of Justice Powell, but far more conservative, as his 20 track record as a circuit court judge amply demonstrates.
J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit. A Scalia protege. That pretty much says it all.
Karen Williams of the Fourth Circuit. A registered Democrat, I believe. She made it to the Fourth Circuit as an unknown quantity on the strength of her connection with Strom Thurmond. She’s turned out to be a fabulous judge.
All of these judges should have many years of service left to offer, although I believe that Randolph and Wilkinson are considerably older than Luttig and Williams.
CORRECTION: Judge Wilkinson is no longer the Chief Judge of the Fourth Circuit, though he formerly held that position. Thanks to reader Josh Chadwick for catching the error.
I also misspelled Judge Wilkinson’s middle name in the original post. This should teach me not to “nominate” Supreme Court Justices during a coffee break.
HINDROCKET adds: Judge Michael McConnell is another good candidate. He has a superb academic background and was a law professor for a number of years. A year or two ago, he somehow got through the Dems’ Senate blockade and is now a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Although he is undeniably conservative, Judge McConnell is respected by nearly everyone, perhaps because of his background in academia. And he has the added virtue of being a friend of my youngest brother, who is a professor at the University of Utah, where Judge McConnell also taught prior to his appointment.
Stuart Buck agrees that Judge McConnell would be a fine choice.
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