Bill Clinton For Supreme Court? Too Old
It doesn’t happen too often but I agree with Bill Clinton. He’s absolutely right when he says he and his wife are too old for the Supreme Court.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have both held big jobs in their lives, but the ex-president said Sunday that Supreme Court justice shouldn’t be among them – they’re too old.
“I’d like to see him put someone in there, late 40s, early 50s, on the court, and someone with a lot of energy for the job,” the 63-year-old Clinton told ABC’s “This Week” when asked about President Obama’s upcoming replacement of Justice John Paul Stevens. Since Stevens, 90, announced his retirement, both Clintons have been mentioned as
But the ex-president said he and his wife, Secretary of State Clinton – who met at Yale Law School in the early 1970s – would counsel the president against picking either of them. “She would be good at it,” Clinton said of his wife, 62, adding that at “one point in her life, she might [have] been interested.” “But she’s like me, you know, we’re kind of doers,” Clinton said. “I think if she were asked, she would advise the President to appoint some 10, 15 years younger.”
As for himself, “I’m already 63-years-old,” said Clinton, who neglected to mention that his law license was suspended for five years after he left office as part of a settlement over the Monica Lewinsky affair. “I hope I live to be 90,” he said. “I hope I’m just as healthy as Justice Stevens is. But it’s not predictable.”
It’s really a shame that Supreme Court Justices have lifetime appointments and therefore incentivize presidents to pick very young people for the bench. In an ideal world, you’d probably prefer more life experience. And, while I don’t like their politics, the Clintons are both more than qualified intellectually and professionally for the job.
But Clinton is right: At 63 and 62, they’re a decade too close to the end of their careers.
I made the argument in some detail last weekend in “Hillary Clinton Too Old for Supreme Court” and in passing in May 2008’s “Hillary Clinton for Supreme Court?” Indeed, I made the argument in October 2005 when Harriet Miers was nominated to the Supreme Court, observing, “Her resume is impressive enough but it is unclear why Bush would nominate someone this old to the Court. In recent years, the trend has been to pick someone in their mid-40s or early 50s to increase the likelihood they would serve a long time.” In the subsequent days and weeks, I would rescind the first part of that analysis.