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Orrin Hatch open to Hillary Clinton for high court?

"I even heard the name Hillary Clinton today, and that would be an interesting person in the mix [for Supreme Court]," Sen. Orrin Hatch said on the "Today" show. "I happen to like Hillary Clinton, I think she's done a good job for the Democrats [in the] Secretary of State's position, and I have high respect for her, and think a great deal of her." (More Hillary Clinton advocacy here.)

Hatch also went on to condemn "activist judges," forgetting that post-health-care reform, Republicans are all about activist judges who are courageous enough to overrule Congress.

By Ezra Klein  |  April 12, 2010; 10:31 AM ET
 
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Comments

just wondering if the thought of Republicans like Hatch being OK with Hilary Clinton for the Supreme Court has more to do with keeping her out of the running in 2016 or how she'd be on the SCOTUS?

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 12, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Activist judge is now defined as any judge who rules in a way the person doing the defining doesn't like. So, basically, conservatives regard liberal rulings as "activist", while liberals regard conservative rulings as "activist".

I like the whole thing about qualifications, but we'll never get back there. Roberts and Alito were both crazy-qualified, but were opposed vigorously. Hillary Clinton would clearly be a highly qualified candidate, but is likely to face stiff Republican opposition. Qualified now means "qualified to make decisions I will agree with". Not actually qualified to look at law, look at precedent, look at the issues of a case and come to a conclusion that not everybody is going to agree with, but qualified to reach a decision that will fit my political agenda.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 12, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

This is precious:
"Hatch also went on to condemn "activist judges," forgetting that post-health-care reform, Republicans are all about activist judges who are courageous enough to overrule Congress."

Silly Republicans. They think the Supreme Court is there to review the constitutionality of laws and regulations imposed by legislators.

Posted by: spamsux1 | April 12, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

You're not cynical enough, Vision. Republicans aren't afraid of Hillary running in 2016. Actually, they'd probably like her to run as a primary challenger in 2012 (silly, but I've heard that). Failing that, I think many Republicans see Hillary as a polarizing choice for the court (yes . . . sigh) and thus another big clustermug of a mess for the Democrats, should Obama be lulled into thinking the Republicans will be all right with that and it will be a good idea.

But I'm not sure Obama wants to give Hillary a SCOTUS. They may have buried the primary hatchets, but is such acrimony ever really completely gone?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | April 12, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

This is a Progressive Agenda trial balloon (forgive the pun).

Posted by: RayOne | April 12, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Yes, after naming a 50 year-old chief justices and a 56 year-old associate justice, I'm sure the GOP would be totally down with Obama naming a 62 year-old justice.

Posted by: JEinATL | April 12, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Hatch is right in implying that activist judges perform a disservice; therefore, I took particular notice when Justices Stevens and Ginsburg join Justices Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist to declare that an act of Congress "...is a considerable congressional intrusion into the States’ traditional prerogatives and general authority to regulate for the health and welfare of their citizens."

Lack of activism in the Court often leads to justice: justice often involves overturning an act of Congress. In the 1997 case quoted above, both conservative and liberal Justices joined in agreeing that (a) States have general authority to regulate for the health and welfare of their citizens and (b) Congress has no particular right to interfere.

Posted by: rmgregory | April 12, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that this was political mischief on Hatch's part. It puts the polarizing Clinton at the top of the news as Obama is trying to decide.

Posted by: tomtildrum | April 12, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

this would be the orrin hatch who had so much respect for hillary clinton that he supported an individual mandate in order to oppose "hillarycare?"

a mandate he didn't really support, he now tells us?

Posted by: howard16 | April 12, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Tomtildrum is right. This is just typical Republican-style PUMA baiting. They enjoy watching these supposed progressives/liberals behaving as complete tools of the right. Come to think of it...who doesn't enjoy that?

Posted by: slag | April 12, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

She'd be the perfect Republican choice for a Dem nominee: pro-executive power, pro-corporate, 62 years old, and already a target of irrational hatred from the right, ready to be blamed for everything.

Posted by: WarrenTerra | April 12, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

"In the 1997 case quoted above, both conservative and liberal Justices joined in agreeing that (a) States have general authority to regulate for the health and welfare of their citizens and (b) Congress has no particular right to interfere."

The implication here is that this case, City of Boerne v. Flores, would provide precedent to strike down the new health-care law. To call that far-fetched is to be too kind. The archbishop of San Antonio applied for a permit to enlarge a church in Boerne, TX. Local zoning authorities denied the permit on historic preservation grounds. The archbishop sued, relying on a claim that the zoning decision unduly burdened the free exercise of religion, citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The rest of the sentence quoted above "...and is not designed to identify and counteract state laws likely to be unconstitutional because of their treatment of religion."

Totally irrelevant to the health care law.

Posted by: thehersch | April 12, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

The choice of Hillary Clinton is the most natural choice for Mrs.Clinton to be nominated for the High court.The bean counters,could not find any problems concerning her persosnality,ethics nor knowledge

hresnick@sbcglobal.net

Posted by: hresnicksbcglobalnet | April 12, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

In reply to thehersch above, "activist judges who are courageous enough to overrule Congress" must include Stevens, Ginsberg, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy... none of whom I consider particularly activist. Moreover, at least two law schools (and three AGs) are currently arguing that the RFRA has relevance to the PPACA, so I'm not certain I can so easily dismiss its significance: in 18 days, the Justice Department will offer its own view in response to a motion.

My point activism-related, not PPACA-related, though. In many instances, conservative and liberal justices unite in opposition to legislation and lower-court rulings pandering to "activist" positions on the far-left and far-right. When there are "activist" judges who pander to the polarized "activist" positions, the bulwark against such activism is weakened.

Posted by: rmgregory | April 12, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

This only shows how much Orrin Hatch DISLIKES Hillary. What job could possibly be worse than to have an appointment to spend the rest of your life in the company of people like Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts?

I'd rather be waterboarded....

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, I agree completely. I think the only way to (somewhat) get back to focusing on a nominee's qualifications is for the Supreme Court to have term limits. At least then opponents could relax a little, knowing there's a fixed date that the nominee's tenure will come to an end. Of course, enacting my plan would be nearly impossible.

And it's shocking how many posts here prove Kevin's point. It's not that Republicans believe the Supreme Court should apply the Constitution and Democrats don't, preferring a chaotic system based entirely on outcomes, or vice versa. Both conservatives and liberals have reasonable arguments to make about the interpretation of our law, including our founding documents. That you don't agree with a particular theory of law does not make anyone who disagrees with you an "activist".

We've become so focussed on politics, and the political implications of outcomes, that we're blind to the reality of legal arugments. Maybe we were always like this and the internet has made it easier to see and argue about.

Posted by: MosBen | April 12, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"I think the only way to (somewhat) get back to focusing on a nominee's qualifications is for the Supreme Court to have term limits. At least then opponents could relax a little, knowing there's a fixed date that the nominee's tenure will come to an end."

Or ... one might argue that fixed terms of service would remove the final barrier from making the appointment of a new justice seem like anything more than a routine political appointment by the executive branch.

Posted by: Patrick_M | April 12, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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