Chief Justice Clarence Thomas?
President Bush has launched an internal review of the pros and cons of nominating Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as the chief justice if ailing William Rehnquist retires, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. A top White House source familiar with Bush’s thinking explains the review of Thomas as chief justice is one of several options currently under serious consideration. But Thomas is Bush’s personal favorite to take the position, the source claims. “It would not only be historic, to nominate a minority as chief justice, symbolizing the president’s strong belief in hope and optimism, but it would be a sound judicial move…. Justice Thomas simply has an extraordinary record.”
This one has been floating around for months. While hardly conciliatory, it strikes me as a good move. It makes sense to have a Chief Justice whose judicial philosophy is established rather than one who, because of the post-Bork climate in the Senate, will have the be a stealth candidate with very little in the way of a paper trail. While Thomas is controversial, he’s already on the Court for life, so elevating him to the Chief’s job would not have a huge downside for Democrats, who would be reluctant to oppose such a historic move.