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Peering into my crystal ball

Today on the news I heard two news stories, and the little voice in my head that connects things started shouting.

The first was that Bill Clinton was making his first campaign appearance on behalf of Senator Kerry since his heart surgery. Clinton introduced Kerry in Pennsylvania, one of the "swing states."

The second story was about Supreme Court William Rehnquist being treated for thyroid cancer. The Chief Justice, 80, has been on the bench for over 30 years.

These two unrelated stories suddenly gelled in my mind. There are most likely going to be a couple vacancies on the High Court within the next four years, and the Chief Justice is a leading contender for retirement. And is the notion of "Chief Justice Clinton" appointed by President Kerry a completely untenable notion?

But which one? Kerry could nominate either Clinton. I see pros and cons both ways.

In Bill's favor, he is currently essentially unemployed and has the time. He is also a former state Attorney General. There is also a historical precedent - President William Howard Taft (1909-1913) served as Chief Justice from 1921 until his death in 1930 (earning his footnote in American history as the only man to have headed up two of the three branches of the federal government).

Against Bill's getting the nod are two factors that spring to mind. First, the role of the Chief Justice (or, for that matter, Associate Justice) has traditionally been one that's been out of the spotlight. Justices are not known for public statements and addresses and positions - it's always seemed unbecoming, and might even be against some rules. Clinton loves the spotlight, the attention, the adoration, and having people hang on his every word. He's like a flower that needs the sunlight, and would wither away in the dusty chambers of the Supreme Court. Besides, I more easily see him at the United Nations - either as the U.S. Ambassador or (shudder) the first American Secretary General.

There's also that awkward disbarment on his record… it might be difficult to get a man banned from practicing law in his home state confirmed to the nation's highest court.

But what about Hillary? She's always been uncomfortable in roles that require her to deal with the public, let alone seek their approval every few years. And she's been much more of a "behind the scenes" figure than her husband - the style of the Court is much more appealing to her personality than the Senate.

On the down side, though, it would eliminate her chances of running for the Presidency. Further, it would free up a Senate seat that the Democrats fought hard for in the first place, and they are rather fond of every seat they now hold.

Hillary's term expires in 2006. It might depend on the timing, but should there be a vacancy before then (and (shudder)) Kerry wins the election, I can see him nominating her and going through the confirmation hearings before she has to decide whether or not to seek a second term.

And the thought gives me cold sweats.

J.


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Comments (14)

Grab your barf-bags folks, ... (Below threshold)
The Old Coot:

Grab your barf-bags folks, Kerry could appoint both of them!

Forget Hillary. Bill is int... (Below threshold)
Marilyn Long:

Forget Hillary. Bill is interested in the U.N. Now that we know Mark Rich had something to do with the "Food for Oil" scam we know where Bill wants to be. Probably that is the connection with the pardon. And to be the head of all that corruption is just too good to pass up.

Yeah. It seems to me the m... (Below threshold)

Yeah. It seems to me the more credible rumor-mongering would fall into the Secretary General Bill Clinton department. Certainly when one considers that nasty little footnote to Bill's own career -- impeachment -- doesn't really wash all that well with the whole Justice role.

you are on a ROLL!... (Below threshold)

you are on a ROLL!

GREAT!

Wow. You've managed to get... (Below threshold)

Wow. You've managed to get my synapses firing again with that one. I've been suffering from election anxiety. I'll have to think about this.

I think that Bill Clinton w... (Below threshold)
Katherine Lambert:

I think that Bill Clinton was disbarred.

Clinton disbarred from Supr... (Below threshold)
Katherine Lambert:

Clinton disbarred from Supreme Court
The Supreme Court said today that a lawyer who was disciplined in his home state of Arkansas cannot practice law before the High Court. The action was totally unremarkable, except that the lawyer in question is former President Bill Clinton.

The justices’ action followed Clinton’s acceptance earlier this year of a five-year suspension of his law license in Arkansas and his payment of a $25,000 fine to the Arkansas Bar Association [stemming from a sexual-harassment suit filed in 1994 by Paula Corbin Jones].

The high court’s rules call for it to suspend a lawyer who has been disbarred or suspended by a lower court from practicing before the United States Supreme Court. The rules also give the lawyer 40 days to respond to final disbarment from the high court. No further punishment is involved but, since it is an honor for a lawyer to be admitted to practice before the high court, losing that privilege could be seen as an embarrassment, especially for a former president.

if - GOD FORBID - W loses,... (Below threshold)

if - GOD FORBID - W loses, then CJ Wm Rehnquist could resign A/O, and W could replace him with Thomas, and Thomas with Blackwell (or anither bonafide Black CONSERVATIVE) IN THIS CONGRESS.

This would be a good fall back position.

ALSO (slightly OT) : if W loses (GOD, Please I pray forbid!) W could WHACK NoKo and Iran and Syria, and try to win the GWOT in one fell swoop - instead of letting James Earl Kerry capitulate.

Um... Katherine, thanks for... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Um... Katherine, thanks for reading and commenting, but if you look back up to the 8th paragraph, the one just before I start talking about Hillary:

There's also that awkward disbarment on his record… it might be difficult to get a man banned from practicing law in his home state confirmed to the nation's highest court.


There's nothing in the law that says a disbarred attorney can't serve on the Court. Hell, there are no formal, legal requirements to serve on the court at all -- you don't even have to be a lawyer. If a president nominated a three-year-old and the Senate voted to confirm her, she'd be on the bench.

J.

Regarding the UN Secretary-... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

Regarding the UN Secretary-General position, I thought I read somewhere that none of the five permanent members of the Security Council could have a citizen hold that position.

I guess I'll have to look it up.

And best of all, putting Hi... (Below threshold)
clioman:

And best of all, putting Hillary on the court frees up ol' JFK #2 to run for a second term....

I suppose I'd rather see Bi... (Below threshold)
J:

I suppose I'd rather see Bill than Hilary on the bench. I think, deep down, Bill actually cares about the American people. Hilary just cares about power.

And I'd be very surprised if Hilary isn't blasting Bill right now with that shrill, annoying voice and a stream of invective that would make a particularly-randy sailor wince. After all, SHE was supposed to be the next Democratic president, and Bill appearing with Kerry can only hurt those chances.

Y'know, I forgot to post wh... (Below threshold)
J:

Y'know, I forgot to post what I originally meant to.

From dimly-recalled history lessons, didn't Taft only run for President because he was using it as a means to an end to get onto the Supreme Court in the first place?

The whole key here would be... (Below threshold)
David:

The whole key here would be Senate confirmation. Kerry can nominate whomsoever he pleases, but, as we've seen from the Demoncrats in the Senate, a filibuster could do the trick.




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