Today’s Opinion Journal has a column that breaches no new ground — they’re floating the theory that should Hillary Clinton become president, she will nominate her husband for a future vacancy on the Supreme Court.
It’s a fun little speculation, and there is historical precedent. As the column notes, William Taft went on after the presidency to serve as Chief Justice. And Clinton is still young enough to feel he has something to contribute.
But the article glosses over the downsides. First up is the nepotism charge. While technically not barred by law, Clinton would have to undergo approval by the Senate. And the Senate might not be so eager to place a married couple at such high levels of government simultaneously.
There’s also the stigma of having a Supreme Court justice who was stripped of his license to practice law for lying under oath in a federal proceeding. That could be a smidgen awkward.
Other downsides also exist. For one, do we really want Bill Clinton to have ready access to Supreme Court Clerks? He was bad enough with interns.
For another, Justices tend to keep a low profile. If there’s one thing Bill Clinton can’t stand, it’s to be out of the limelight for too long.
Finally, he would have to recuse himself from cases that involve actions by his administration. For example, should a “don’t ask/don’t tell” case come up, he would have to step aside, as he was the president who implemented that policy.
Lord knows Bill Clinton needs something to do, to keep him out of mischief. We’ve seen over the past few years the kind of trouble he can cause when he’s bored and feeling ignored. But putting him on the Supreme Court would be a matter of the cure being worse than the disease.