Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The One You Never Saw

CNN has what it claims are Obama's final six for the Supreme Court opening. Five are no surprise: Sonia Sotomayor, Diane Wood, Elena Kagan, Janet Napolitano, and Jennifer Granholm. The sixth has gotten almost no buzz until now: California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno.

I highly, highly doubt Moreno will get the nod. First, there is no reason to go the whole stealth candidate route -- there is a huge Democratic majority in the Senate and plenty of well-known candidates who should sail through. Second, Moreno will undoubtedly come under scrutiny for his vote on the gay marriage decision -- if he voted to strike down the law, he'll stir up a hornet's nest on the right, and if he voted to uphold it, I can't imagine he'd be on the list. Third, given that Moreno doesn't seem any more distinguished than the other candidates, what's the rationale for appointing another man to the bench?

This isn't any offense to Moreno, who has excellent credentials and I'm sure would make a fine Justice. I just think he's on the list to be on the list.


Unknown said...

It's possible Obama wants to raise his profile, perhaps with future nominations in mind.

PG said...

I don't see the rationale behind Janet Napolitano or Jennifer Granholm nor any way to distinguish between them. They have essentially the same resumes: California college, top 10 law school, clerked for a federal appellate court but not SCOTUS, became a government attorney, was state attorney general and then state governor.

Moreno's background at least seems more interestingly relevant since he has been both a federal trial judge and a state appellate judge.

chingona said...

At work this morning, several people were expressing the idea that he ought not nominate someone who is too liberal, that it will be very difficult to confirm a very liberal candidate, that Napolitano would be much more likely to be easily confirmed because she's moderate, etc., etc.

And it occurred to me that Moreno may be on the list to establish the leftward boundary, so to speak. I don't really know if he is actually the most liberal (and personally, I think Obama should pick someone liberal), but the gay marriage issue probably would make him much more radioactive, politically. Could he be there to provide cover for one of the other nominees? As in, "Hey, you might not be crazy about this one, but at least I didn't picked Moreno."