This is not complicated. Here are two reasons why it would be an excellent idea for President Obama to nominate someone approximately 38 years old to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
- Of the eight current members of the Court, five are older than 65. The “hippest” member of the Court may be Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and she is almost 83. The challenges that face Millennials and the following generations are completely different from what any member of the present Court faced when he/she was in his/her 30s, or for that matter, is facing now. No member of the current court has overcome the obstacles to financial success, harmonious personal relations, and honesty that confront Millennials.
- If the Republicans do not have the decency and the commitment to follow the Constitutional instruction that the President nominates Court appointments and the Senate offers its Advice and Consent, then they will have to run the peril of locking out someone who could much better relate to Millennials and those younger. Would they really want to do that in an election year? It’s as if Mitch McConnell was given to us by central casting.
In fact, we need someone who is a young 38; someone who lived in a college dorm not too long ago and who has had to worry about making ends meet. This person may have had a part-time job while in high school and recently saw adult co-workers struggling to financially survive. If we are talking about a woman, she may have faced an unplanned pregnancy, and, if she lived in the right state, she was grateful for the choices she had. If we’re talking about a man whose partner had an unplanned pregnancy, he may have suffered through the indignities of a state with few choice options.
This 38-year-old knows how to code and is a video game wizard. But he/she has gained enough self-control to not get addicted to these games, to sports fantasy games, or to drugs, including alcohol.
Not too long ago, this potential candidate may have been a counselor in an inner-city camp, or a “volunteer” in Teach-for-America, or actually had a teaching job in a stressful situation. He/she then went on to law school and accumulated more financial debt than ever expected.
This potential candidate knows the law very well and has practiced virtually every kind from landlord-tenant cases, to copyright infringement, to eminent domain cases, to tax laws and cases that come before family court.
This person is obviously very bright, has a good sense of humor, is empathetic and is not self-promoting. This person once considered going into politics, but found the ways in which people rise in politics, particularly by having to raise so much money, to be unsavory.
This person would never expect to be on President Obama’s short list, and that’s part of why he or she would be so good. This would be a great candidate, or if the Republicans insisted, a great sacrificial lamb who could teach all of us an important lesson or two.