I just wrote a column about Obama and Sotomayor (it’ll be up tomorrow). In the process of reading all this stuff about Obama’s criteria for a Supreme Court Justice (blah, blah, empathy, blah blah blah), it occurred to me that maybe what he really wants to do is appoint himself,* or at least the best approximation of himself he can find that politics will allow.
Think about it. He places this huge emphasis on a personal narrative that produces empathy for select disadvantaged groups — minorities, single moms, etc. He wants someone who is smart enough, but whose real priorities can be boiled down to trite lefty tropes about “social justice.” He allegedly wants someone charming and bipartisan solely so they will seduce conservative members of the court to more liberal positions (I say “allegedly” because you often hear this ascribed to the White House, but never actually stated outright). All of these traits are hallmarks of what might be called “Obamaism.”
Now I know that Obama has some very well-thought-out, or at least elaborate, arguments for his idea of a good justice. But isn’t it possible that some of this is really just a rationalization for a more fundamental narcissistic projection? After all, it is hardly news that Obama thinks very highly of himself, and sees all sorts of major issues through the prism of Obama. Everything he says about what would make a great, ideal, Supreme Court justice is stuff he clearly sees in himself. I think that is at least interesting.
*Why not cut out the middlewomen and just name himself? Okay, maybe that would be unconstitutional, but he could resign with expectation that President Biden would appoint him. Of course, this would also mean that Obama would have to step down as CEO of GM and Chrysler, as well as the majority shareholder in our biggest banks. And he couldn’t give primetime press conferences every couple weeks either. That is a lot to ask.