Some liberals are now recommending that President Bush nominate a politician for the Supreme Court. Norman Ornstein helpfully suggests that former Senator Warren Rudman would be a “superb” choice. Maybe Rudman could even sit next to his pal David Souter.
In general, having politicians on the Court is a bad idea. Politicians like to make policy, which is not what judges are supposed to do. Ornstein notes that having politicians on the Court can help build consensus and thus reduce the number of 5-4 and 6-3 decisions. But that’s not necessarily a good thing either, since the consensus often must be obtained at the cost of soundness and coherence.
Ornstein points out, as Walter Dellinger did earlier today on the Stephanopoulos show, that there were several ex-politicans on the court that decided Brown v. Board of Education. But the fact that the Warren court contained ex-politicians (including Warren himself) is not much of an advertisement.
This is not to say that qualified candidates should be excluded just because they have held elective office. Senator John Cornyn is a good candidate for the Supreme Court, but that’s because he’s a conservative with a solid record as a judge, not because he’s also a politician.
By the way, does anyone remember liberal talking heads advocating that Clinton’s nominees be politicians?
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