Bill Clinton Offers Obama Advice on Next Supreme Court Justice

April 19, 2010 - 5:22 AM
Bill Clinton says someone who hasn't been a judge should be considered for the Supreme Court. But scratch the idea of the ex-president or his wife as a justice.
Washington (AP) - Bill Clinton says someone who hasn't been a judge should be considered for the Supreme Court.
 
But scratch the idea of the ex-president or his wife as a justice.
 
Clinton suggested that President Barack Obama follow a model that Clinton used when he tried unsuccessfully to persuade then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to agree to be nominated to the high court.
 
Justice John Paul Stevens' recent decision to retire hands Obama a second chance to shape the court.
 
Clinton, who has not been a judge, said that at 63, told ABC's "This Week" that he's too old to be considered, much as he might enjoy serving on the Supreme Court. He said his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, also might have been interested in past years, but not now.
 
Bill Clinton, who also had two court vacancies during his first years in office, ended up nominating two federal appeals court judges, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Ginsburg was 60 and Breyer was in his early 50s.
 
The former president urged Obama to pick someone around 50 years old.
 
Obama's Democratic predecessor in the White House says Cuomo and Mitchell, who had been a judge before serving in the Senate, would have made good justices, but both turned him down. He said he hopes Obama takes a look at someone who hasn't been a judge.
 
Among those reported to be under consideration, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49, has never been a judge.
 
Others who fit that description are Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, 52, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, 51 and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, 53.
 
Last year, Obama chose another federal appellate judge, Sonia Sotomayor.