New Year, New Judges
As Barack Obama and his transition team prepare for life after January 20th, pundits, experts and interested parties have offered them an abundance of advice on how to best address various issues during the Obama Presidency. In fact, Barack Obama has solicited more advice and done more outreach than any President-elect in recent memory. Rabbi David Saperstein and the RAC staff have attended nearly a dozen meetings with transition team members on various issues.
Through newspapers and other media outlets, many individuals have offered President-elect Obama guidance and counsel on how to approach judicial nominations and how best to fill the 44 vacancies on the federal courts that will exist when he takes office. The following are a few of the most interesting articles that I have seen, representing a diversity of opinions:
“Look Beyond Constitutional Interpretation When Picking Judges” by Glenn Sugameli, Senior Legislative Counsel at Earthjustice
“Sitting on Great Judges: Where Obama Should Look When He Makes His First Appointments to the Bench” by Emily Bazelon and Judith Resnik of Slate Magazine
“Why Barack Obama, as President, Should Nominate Leading Law Professors for Seats on the Federal Appeals Court” by Carl Tobias, Williams Professor at the University of Richmond School of Law
Only time will tell how President Obama will deal with judicial nominations and what types of people he will put on the federal bench (USA Today reminded us this week that timing and luck are essential for a seat on the courts). However, as Mr. Kendall astutely notes in his article (linked above), this new Administration is well-positioned to approach nominations with expertise and wisdom. Both the President and the Vice President taught constitutional law and the Vice President served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for many years.