Friday, March 7, 2008

Solution to the Democratic Tie?

Pennsylvania has a primary on April 22nd and, for once, it actually means something on the Democratic party side. (So much so that, much as occurred in Ohio, some residents are rushing to change their party affiliation to Democrat in time to vote.) To avoid a long and potentially harmful battle, both Clintons have suggested that Hillary is open to the possibility of a joint ticket. But would Obama agree to it?

The Clintons would, of course, prefer that Hillary be the top part of the ticket, with Obama as her vice president. But since Obama is currently leading (even if only marginally), I don't think it is likely that he will agree to such an arrangement at this point and he has now said so publicly.

So is there another deal that Hillary could offer Obama, one that benefits her and that he might accept? Perhaps Hillary could appeal to Obama's interest in having a real impact on the future of the country and offer him the first open seat on the Supreme Court. It is probably my lawyer bias, but I think that a person could have a much greater impact as a justice than as vice president (especially given the lifetime appointment - which, for Obama, could easily be 30-40 years). Of course, Obama could make the same offer to Hillary. While she is older than Obama, the position may still appeal to her.

Would either be enticed by such an offer? Weighing against accepting is the "historical first" consideration (which favors the president/vice-president option over the Supreme Court for both nominees). It may also depend on the way that the court will lean for the next 30 years. It might be fairly distressing to write 30 years of dissenting opinions (although some types relish that role). In the end, though, which deal would you take: justice or vice president?


Anonymous said...

Your compromise would indeed be creative. With any luck the justice will not be writing 30 years of dissenting opinions...maybe more like 10 or so.

Josh Fershee said...

Although both are lawyers who likely have great respect (and probably some awe) for the Court, it seems to me that those who run for President, especially those who have been as successful as Clinton and Obama, have a unique desire to be in charge. And, frankly, they must find the limelight appealing. I would think that the Supreme Court would rarely provide the kind of interaction both find most appealling.

At least at this point, I would think neither would be especially interested, at least as long as each campaign has a chance to win. After a loss, that might change. I am inclined to think that Obama would be less interested in pursuing the bench in the near future than Clinton, because he is young, and another run for the White House would seem plausible, and probably likely, even if he lost.

Then again, it is the Supreme Court we are talking about, and it would be hard to imagine anyone resisting such an opportunity too much.

Jim Chen said...

If Hillary appoints Barack to the Supreme Court, Barack will have the chance to become the Charles Evans Hughes of the 21st century. Justice Obama could resign from the Court in pursuit of the Presidency. Hughes did that, fell barely short of the White House, and returned to the high court. I presume that Barack would rather win outright this year, but I doubt he'd refuse a seat on the Supreme Court if that's his best option. And I'd also assume that if Barack goes to the Supreme Court, he'll pull a Hughes-style move -- with an eye toward winning in round 2.

The reverse situation -- Barack naming Hillary to the Supreme Court -- is less likely to yield a Hughes-like comeback on the presidential trail, if only because Hillary is older. Then again, the demographic factors may actually favor Mrs. Clinton. Women live longer than men on balance, and I suspect Hillary has smoked far less than Barack has.