Friday, May 15, 2009

No Oprah

Matt Yglesias doesn't think Oprah would make a bad SCOTUS Justice.
I’m actually 100 percent positive that were Oprah on the Supreme Court she would do a good job. In a lot of ways, it’s just not that difficult a job. You need a reasonably intelligent, public-spirited individual who’s aware of their own limits and does a good job of hiring clerks. To be a truly great justice requires more than that, but it’s not as if putting a TV personality on the court would lead to her making “wacky judicial bloopers” or something. The difficult, controversial cases that come before the Supreme Court are precisely the cases where the answer isn’t in your bar exam study book.

Mmm...no. I think there is an assumption amongst the lay folk that the Supreme Court just sits there twiddling its thumbs until somebody brings it the year's abortion case. It's certainly true that every Supreme Court case is difficult and isn't the sort of thing that one finds in a hornbook. And some Court cases are tough because they touch on politically controversial issues that lie on the fault lines of our most fundamental value debates. But others are difficult because they implicate genuinely vexing problems of substantive or procedural law that nonetheless carry with them very little political valence. I wonder how a non-lawyer would even begin to think about any of the Supreme Court cases one would find in my civil procedure textbook, for example.

5 comments:

The Gaucho Politico said...

What you dont think Oprah could get the Erie Doctrine?

Bill Abendroth said...
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Joe said...

They may be technical, but a lot of those Civ Pro cases are plenty political, especially when we get into summary judgment.

Bill Abendroth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PG said...

I don't recall Yglesias believing that being a SCOTUS justice was so easy when Harriet Miers was up for the job.