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.