McCain's Kind of Justice
... Ah. I got my question in just now, which was to invite him to talk about what sort of person he would put on the Supreme Court, and specifically if he would strengthen a conservative majority or if he would work with liberals and others who care about preserving the balance that we've had on the Court for so long. He said he wanted, above all, a person with "a proven record of strict construction." This is "probably a conservative position, but," he said, "I'm proud of that position." He wants judges who won't "legislate." Then, he added that "this is new" and something we may not have heard: he'd like someone who had not just judicial experience but also "some other life experiences," such as time in the military, in a corporation, or in a small business. He would like to see "not just vast judicial knowledge, but also knowledge of the world."Emphasis added. If you are a Republican presidential candidate, the first half of that answer is mandatory: strict construction (though I'm not exactly sure that that phrase really means anything anymore), won't legislate from the bench, yadda yadda yadda. The bold part caught Prof. Althouse's attention (and mine too). McCain wants someone who has military and/or private sector experience. Interesting. This isn't out of the ordinary, though. President Clinton originally wanted to name a politician to the Court. That obviously didn't pan out (and is slightly different than what McCain was proposing), but the instinct to look beyond the bench isn't all that odd.
Who could McCain pick? Well, there are a few people that immediately spring to mind. J. Michael Luttig is a former appeals court judge, legal conservative icon, and currently general counsel of Boeing. He's had an amazing career and is still in his 50s. Luttig was the first person that popped into my head.
Other options: Larry Thompson, former deputy Attorney General and current general counsel to PepsiCo. Christopher Cox, head of the SEC, former Congressman, and co-founder of Context Corp. Lindsey Graham, Senator, military service in the JAG corps, former appellate judge on the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, and open McCain supporter.
I'm sure I'm missing a ton of possible nominees that fit the McCain criteria. These were just the names I could come up with in about five minutes of thinking and Wiki'ing. The most acceptable of the list is Luttig. He would actually be a stellar pick and make me dislike McCain much less than I do now.