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Courage, Mr. President

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President Obama may, very possibly, be asked to accept the retirement of a senior Supreme Court justice early into his term of office. A vacancy on the high court involves a momentous decision that will impact generations to come. Since this is a lifetime posting, it is arguably the most important personnel choice any president can be called upon to make. The new President is urged to continue being as cautious and circumspect as he has been throughout his career.

However, following are the appropriate responses to arguments likely to be advanced by the political opposition and a few well intentioned, but timid, supporters regarding one potential candidate.  The President will demonstrate great courage by rejecting false negatives when considering this superbly qualified candidate.

A nominee first advanced, then dropped, from consideration for a high government posting by a former President because of political opposition should not be avoided, even if it costs some political capital.

A candidate who has expressed, taught, and written of a fairer playing field for minorities and others, beyond the currently accepted parameters, should be seriously considered.

The new Chief Executive can put forward a candidate whose law theories he himself once taught at the University of Chicago School of Law, despite the possibility some might find this compromising.

Caution should be exercised in considering any candidate associated with a university not strongly grounded within the dominant social mores of the country.  The Ivies, especially Harvard, are not to be dismissed due to the possible taint of elitism.

Should not the fact that a candidate teaches at Harvard as did her father and also her husband be cause for serious attention?

A nominee of mixed racial ancestry will avoid the possibility of personal bias. This goes doubly if her mother also happens to be Caucasian.

So, ignore caution, Mr. President, take the political risk. Be our hero. Make your first nominee to the United States Supreme Court Professor Lani Guinier, the first black woman given tenure at Harvard Law School. Take the heat and do not pick a lesser candidate as a safe choice.

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About Robert Magill

  • Wow, I stand aghast at this suggestion. Will this appointment come before or after the ritual burning of the Constitution?


  • Dave –

    C’mon! After the past eight years of warfare the Bush administration has waged on the Constitution, you’re still convinced that the left is the real enemy????

  • Brunelleschi


    As I am sure you know, the constitution started out saying that blacks were counted as 3/5 of a man, and they couldn’t vote. It would take a lot of time and space to run back through how that legacy lives with us today. Whitey may want to disagree and say that’s all behind us, but Whitey didn’t live through all that tyranny either.

    I don’t know much about Guinier, but she sounds like an interesting intellectual and a bit of a philosopher. She’s revived the debate on “Tyranny of the Majority.” Good for her.

    Put her on the Supreme Court? Why not? She would be a strong advocate for affirmative action, which I’ll take any day over 3/5 of a man.

  • Arch Conservative

    C’mon! After the past eight years of warfare the Bush administration has waged on the Constitution, you’re still convinced that the left is the real enemy????

    Well Glenn many of us who are on the right actually take issue with the Bush prsidency and the things it has brought his nation, but for more rational, sane, reality based reasons.

    Anyone claiming that we should abandon traditional conservative values because of the performance of George W. Bush quite obviously does not understand what conservatism really is.

    Although I’m not welcoming Barry with open arms I’m not exactly shedding any tears at seeing W. leave either.

    if this woman is qualified then it’s completely Obama’s perogative to nominate her if he wants to. If she’s not nearly as qualified as some others and is only being selected because of the color of her skin …well that’s an insult to her and the nation.

    Of course she must be pro-choice. That is the litmus test these days isn’t it? If you’re a GOP pres you have to nominate only pro life judges and if you’re a Dem you can only nominate pro-choice judges.

    Like most people Bruno you don’t understand the 3/5 compromise.

    It was actually to blacks benefits that they were only counted as 3/5 of a person. When the constitution was being written those delegates who opposed slavery wanted slaves/blacks to count for only 3/5 of a person because they came from states (northern states) that had relatively smaller black/slave populations and they wanted to limit the power that pro slavery states with higher slave/black populations (southern states) had.

    Basically the anti slavery northern delegates did not think it just that blacks could not vote but yet they should be counted as citizens for the sole purpose of giving the pro slavery whites in their state more representative power in the government.

  • Brunelleschi

    Give me a break.

    It sounds like 2 slaveowners arguing over who treats their slaves better.

  • Arch Conservative

    Well there’s your personal interpretation of history and then there’s what actually happened Bruno.

    Believe whichever you choose.

  • bliffle

    Yeah, Bruneleschi. Get with it. You’ve got to understand that it was to the advantage of the Africans that they were transported from their miserable villages in Africa to the lovely plantations of Virginia. I’m sure, were they able to tell us, that those ancestors would thank the slaveowners profusely, knowing that their great-great-grandchildren can now live in Philadelphia and watch color TV.

    Great humanitarians. And not just partially either, but a full 5/5 humanitarian.

  • Clavos

    she sounds like an interesting intellectual

    Well, nobody’s perfect.

  • I read the article as well as the comments. I also googled (as distinguished from ogled) Professor Lani Guinier and couldn’t find much beyond that

    She is the first Black female to become a tenured professor of law at Harvard;
    She is an expert on civil rights issues;
    She supported now President Obama and opposed now Secretary Clinton during the campaign;
    She is an intellectual;
    She is pushed by several organizations as a renowned public speaker, and
    She is a moderately prolific writer.

    I found nothing to suggest whether

    She has ever argued a case before the Supreme Court or any other court;
    She was ever lead counsel in any litigation; or whether
    She has been admitted to the Supreme Court or any appellate court.

    Such matters as these are obviously not controlling. Still, before rushing to support her yet to be offered nomination I would like to know the answers — even though I have read that the best and brightest law students become law professors, that those of second rank become judges, and that the rest of us go on to practice law.