November 04, 2004

Supreme Court Qualifications

A question for my readers, especially of the lawyerly persuasion. We are guaranteed, I think, at least one vacancy if not three or four on the court during President Bush's second term.

Putting ideology and "confirmability" aside, what would you want to see in a future Supreme Court justice? What do you think makes a good Justice? Please email me your criteria or leave a comment. I'm working on a short list of folks I would like to see on the court based on the below standards, and would be interested in some other qualifications. Names of your favorite potential nominees are welcome, too.

Here are a few quick nominees that I think meet the above (alpha order, not by preference):

Richard Epstein, Law Professor, Univ. of Chicago
Alex Kozinski, Judge, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Richard Posner, Judge, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals
Glenn Reynolds, Law Professor, Univ. Tennessee, Knoxville (I'm not kidding, nor am I trolling for an Instalanche here. See above criteria!)
Eugene Volokh, Law Professor, UCLA

Posted by JohnL at November 4, 2004 11:30 PM

For criteria, I'd add scrupulous intellectual integrity and an understanding of the real world in which the issues at stake will play out. I adore Epstein, but I think we'd get greater utility from his talents as a thinker in the academy than on the bench. My wish list: Mike McConnell (off-the-charts smart and a remarkable man) and Janice Rogers Brown (smart, tough, and just about the only jurist whose opinions I read for pleasure).

Posted by: Chan S. at November 6, 2004 08:28 PM

I like your contributions. "Real world" orientation is something, sadly, that many lawyers lack. I can see your point on Epstein (in fact, I would hate to see the impact on the academy of losing some of its best and brightest libertarian/conservative professors to judgeships). No disputes with you over McConnell and Brown. I plan to develop and expand this theme in a future posting (and I hope it gets more feedback next time around).

Thanks for commenting!

Posted by: JohnL at November 9, 2004 03:58 PM

Your list is excellent, but what's the point? Confirmability and ideology are the most important factors in a judicial nomination.

Posted by: austin at November 11, 2004 05:08 PM

what qualifications do i need to be high justice of the supreme court?what degrees will i need?

id be a better lawyer or judge than any of the current ones and i dont even know what to do yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Posted by: jamie-lee at June 17, 2005 01:40 PM
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