Via SFist, a very intriguing notion by Tom Goldstein:

But taking all of the criteria into account, as things stand now, there is only one candidate who otherwise fits the bill of the ideal [Supreme Court] nominee:

Kamala Harris (47), Attorney General of California […]

I do not know a ton about Harris personally, but everyone knowledgeable with whom I’ve spoken has been very impressed.  Having won statewide elected office in California, it is unlikely that she has significant skeletons in her closet.  In 2015, she will be fifty years old.  She is regarded as a liberal and death penalty opponent, but her background is almost entirely in law enforcement, and she has written and spoken in great detail about criminal justice policy.  She opposed referenda that would legalize medical marijuana and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants; she prosecuted parents of truant children.  Like the President, she is biracial.  She has also long been well known to the Administration, having been the first California elected official to endorse Barack Obama’s candidacy.  (Her brother-in-law is Assistant Attorney General Tony West.)

He says that the timing would likely be pretty poor, that an opening would most likely occur during Harris’s campaign for re-election as AG or while positioning herself for a run for Governor. So who knows. But she’s definitely an impressive figure that I think would be confirmable. She’s light on judicial experience, but she’s qualified for the job and I like to see some diversity in background on the Court. Citizens United was the product of groupthink to a some degree, I think. Harris’s role in the recent mortgage settlement has definitely attracted quite a bit of attention, and it’ll be great for the state, we could seriously use the money (homeowners in particular will really be helped out by it, and they need it). She’d have a great roll-out, perhaps even better than Sotomayor’s since Harris is more accustomed to operating in the media limelight. Lot of positives there. And I don’t really think the death penalty has much juice in it left as a polarizing issue–her failed GOP opponent in 2010 went at that angle so ferociously, one could have worried he was going to load up a Baretta with hollowpoints and go up to SF to prove a point. But I could be wrong about that–where was birth control a month ago?

I’d definitely like to see another Californian on the Court. If freaking Arizona got two Justices for twentysomething years, why can’t we get two for a few years until Tony Kennedy infuriates both sides for the final time? Goldstein also mentions another Californian, Ninth Circuit nominee Jacqueline Nguyen, as a possibility. She is getting bumped up after being appointed to her district judge post by…Barack Obama. Pretty cool if he could push her all the way to the top, no?


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