April 10, 2010

Whitehouse to SCOTUS?

Marc Comtois

As I was driving around this morning, I heard from our corporate overlords on WPRO that RI Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse was an "out of the box" candidate to fill the soon-to-be vacated Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Stevens. Upon further research, it seems the idea was first floated by a contributor to the Huffington Post yesterday afternoon. In a piece titled "Sheldon Whitehouse and 4 Other Superb 'Out of the Box' Suggestions to Replace Justice Stevens," Paul Abrams wrote:

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has the sharpest mind in the Senate. He is a former attorney general. His sharp mind, rhetorical skills, keen understanding of how government works, and his political experience suggest he would be a strong advocate, persuasive thinker, consensus builder, and, when in the minority, a cogent dissenter. Advocates before the Court would have to triple their preparation to meet his withering questioning. The Court, the standard of advocacy, and the entire country would benefit.

Yes, Glenn Beck would likely conjure a grand conspiracy in sending someone named "Whitehouse" to the Supreme Court, but as a sitting Senator it would be difficult for Republicans to filibuster his nomination recognizing he would be among them for a long time. Moreover, Republicans know, by serving with him, that their attempts to posture and to lie would result in their undressing on national television. A Democrat, or a Lincoln Chafee, would replace him. He could do far more benefit as 1 of 9 on the Supreme Court than 1 of 100 in the Senate.

Hm. Whitehouse hasn't exactly enamored himself to some of his potential future colleagues with his criticism of the Court's decision on campaign finance reform, in which he accused the conservative justices of being nothing more than puppets for corporations (and more). To this point, Sen. Whitehouse hasn't exactly displayed the sort of judicial temperament one would expect. Ideological firebrand is more like it. While I wouldn't lose any sleep over the idea of "losing" Sen. Patrician--I didn't vote for him (ahem)--I can't quite bring myself to support the idea of pawning our problem onto the entire U.S.

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In today's world of politics, the simple fact that RI currently has a GOP governor will stop any chance (which should be small anyway) of Sen.Silverspoon getting nominated for the SCOTUS position. The Administration wouldn't take the chance of losing another seat, even in the short term. Its sort of baffling why his name gets brought up, I guess the talking heads needed something to talk about for the next few weeks. Its clear who the front runners are, and beyond that its all but certain who the choice will be. Elena Kagen will be the next SCOTUS justice, for better or for worse.

Posted by: steadman at April 10, 2010 11:46 AM

>>Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has the sharpest mind in the Senate.

Right there that poster proved that they have no f-ing idea what they are talking about.

Whitehouse may be many things, but a "brightest mind" ain't one of them.

One thing' for sure, after his no-bid giveaway of the lead paint suit contract to the class-action ambulance chasers of Ness-Motley (now Motley Rice) he'd have the support of the trial lawyers association (which now laughably has renamed itself the "association for justice" or some such misnomer).

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at April 10, 2010 12:33 PM

This would be the last straw.Actually I think Obama knows how shallow and stupid this turd in the State's punchbowl really is.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 10, 2010 3:01 PM

That is the most nauseating thing I've heard all week. The very awfulness of it makes it almost plausible.

Posted by: BobN at April 10, 2010 4:43 PM

"Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has the sharpest mind in the Senate."

This is nonsense. While progressives think that anyone who agrees with them must be "brilliant" and "enlightened," nothing could be further from the truth in this case.

I've worked closely with a number of attorneys, Democrat and Republican, who worked under Whitehouse (I myself "just missed" the honor) and there was very little variation in how they described him:
"Not a deep thinker"
"Weak lawyer"

He would certainly go down in history as one of the worst SCOTUS nominations of all time, not that I think he will get anywhere near that far.

Posted by: Dan at April 10, 2010 5:11 PM

Can't decide which is scarier: "Justice Whitehouse" or "Governor Chafee".

Posted by: davidc at April 10, 2010 5:54 PM

You're all missing one essential angle to the story. In the Land Of The Democrat an empty suit like Shelley Whitehouse is considered (only to them) the sharpest mind in the Senate, a toy soldier like Jack Reed is considered (only to them) a military expert and a resume-less community organizer from Caponetown is considered (only to them) to be the messiah.
What Dems consider to be top shelf talent is actually a shocking display of mediocrity.
The old titans of the Democratic party must roll over in their graves at the lack of genuine intellect and leadership in their party.

There is no way Obama nominates Rhody's favorite blueblood elitist Aryan.

Posted by: Tim at April 10, 2010 6:19 PM

One thing's for sure. If the Obama admin was so ill-advised as to nominate him, after some of his outbursts - including one, most incredibly, in which he described two thirds of the country as aryan racists who want to re-create Krystalnacht - Republicans would have a field day at his confirmation hearing.

"... So in point of fact, you, a former Attorney General and a sitting Senator, made all of these remarkably slanderous statements without one scintilla of evidence. Is this the template, Senator, by which you would approach cases on the Supreme Court; i.e., without reference to facts, precedent or the Constitution?"

Posted by: Monique at April 10, 2010 7:09 PM

Sheldon Whitehouse = Chauncey Gardner

but without the common sense

I do think it's very noble of Huff'n'PuffPost to provide an editorial slot for the brain damaged individual who wrote that drivel.

Posted by: chuckR at April 10, 2010 9:00 PM


Posted by: Doreen at April 11, 2010 10:55 AM

The ongoing murder trial of Charles Pona should be enough to answer any question regarding the "fitness"of this pile of crap in a suit to hold any responsible position in government.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 13, 2010 8:21 AM

Tim-actually Rhody hasn't exactly been a Whitehouse admirer from what he writes here-his favorite blueblood elitist Aryan is Linc Chaffee-not QUITE as bad as Sheldon-but that's like comparing dog droppings to vomit.You wouldn't want to enjoy a plate of either one.

Posted by: joe bernstein at April 14, 2010 11:02 AM
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