Bench Memos

How Robert Gibbs Is Like Jan Crawford’s Six-Year Old

CBS News legal corrsepondent Jan Crawford comments on the latest back-and-forth between the Supreme Court and the White House:

For the life of me, I just don’t get why the White House continues to try to pick a fight with the Supreme Court. I’ve suggested before that perhaps it’s a sign President Obama intends to tap an outsider when John Paul Stevens retires, so he can beat the drum that the Court is out of touch with everyday Americans.

But after Chief Justice John Roberts made some entirely reasonable remarks yesterday — and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs just had to respond — it’s now getting ridiculous.

Whether the White House has a short-term or long-term strategy or no strategy at all, it’s flat-out absurd and ill-advised for the administration to think it should always have the last word. It’s like my 6-year-old: “I don’t LIKE your idea. I like MY idea.”

There’s more.

Crawford’s suggestion that the White House could be preparing to nominate an “outsider” to the Supreme Court is particularly interesting.  The conventional wisdom holds that the next nomination is Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s to lose.  She’d be an “outsider” in one sense — she’s never been a judge — but she’s part of the Administration.  That’s not much of an “outsider” qualification.  Nor is her former job as Dean of HArvard Law School or her work in the Clinton Administration.

Jonathan H. Adler — Mr. Adler is an NRO contributing editor and the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. His latest book is Marijuana Federalism: Uncle Sam and Mary Jane.