Michelle Obama For The Supreme Court?

Michelle Obama i
Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images
Michelle Obama
Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images

Never for a second did I ever buy into the possibility that President Obama would pick Hillary Clinton to fill the opening on the Supreme Court left by retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.  But here's a suggestion that, while interesting, has absolutely no chance of becoming reality, as put forward by Per Johnson of Seattle:

Could the president nominate Michelle Obama to fill the seat?  Yes, I know this is not going to happen!  I anticipate him placing another woman on the court and I would guess he tries to make it a black woman this time.  I know Michelle was a practicing lawyer, which you don't even have to be to fill the position.  I wasn't sure whether there is something that precludes him from nominating her as it could be a conflict of interest.

Yes, I would say it could be considered a conflict of interest.  But I'm not sure if this would be prohibited by the so-called "nepotism law" passed by Congress in 1967.  That statute said, "A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance'' a relative in any agency ''in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control."  As Pauk Weisenfeld notes in the comments below, Obama does not serve over or exercise any jurisdiction or control over the Supreme Court.

Of course, whenever one thinks of nepotism and the 1960s, you can't help but recall that President John Kennedy named his brother Bobby to be attorney general.  There are those who insist that the nepotism statute was pushed through by President Lyndon Johnson, who detested Bobby and wanted to show his disdain for him. But former Rep. Neal Smith (D-Iowa) has said the statute was his idea and that it had nothing to do with Kennedy. Smith was angered by the way lawmakers on Capitol Hill put family members on the payroll, and so he added the measure to a bill that provided for postal-rate increases. There was little debate on the measure and it passed quietly.

P.S.  Don't forget about my contest to predict the next court justice.  Click here for details.



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