I’ve just seen the news that Judge Michael McConnell of the Tenth Circuit will resign from the bench to direct Stanford law school’s Constitutional Law Center. McConnell is a first-rate legal scholar, which explains Stanford’s attraction to him. But he also, in his relatively few years on the bench, showed all the signs of being a first-rate judge. His move back to academe, of course, does not by any means preclude consideration of McConnell for a Supreme Court appointment in some future Republican administration.
But why wait? Michael McConnell is well-known for his empathy, his acumen, and his non-ideological approach to judging. I have never heard anything but praise for him from liberal legal scholars. And he once was President Obama’s colleague at Chicago. Perhaps the president can change his mind about Stanford.
No, I’m not kidding.