President Obama is facing a huge decision soon. He’ll get to select another justice for the U.S. Supreme Court. Sure, he’s getting lots of advice, most of it unsolicited. Here’s some more, Mr. President.
Don’t pick yet another Ivy Leaguer for the court. Look beyond — way beyond — that axis for the next court appointment. He’s already been getting advice from Texas to look, ahem, at the Lone Star State’s myriad law schools and courts for the next justice.
The current court lineup contains justices with Harvard and Yale pedigrees. They’re great schools, right? But the University of Texas has a great law school, too. Same for Texas Tech, Southern Methodist University and St. Mary’s University.
The decision confronting the president is somewhat similar to those facing governors, such as Rick Perry, who have to pick Supreme Court justices from time to time. Perry a few years ago broke through the Interstate 35/45 “cabal” on the Supreme Court when he reached out to Amarillo to select Phil Johnson, chief justice of the 7th Court of Appeals, for a spot on the high court. That decision illustrated Perry’s understanding that not all legal knowledge resides in that swath of real estate between those two major north-south interstate highways.
President Obama needs to look all across this vast country to find the next justice, replacing John Paul Stevens, who is retiring this summer. We’re rich in intellectual firepower, Mr. President.