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A Supreme Court Choice We Can Believe In

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Posted on Apr 15, 2010
White House / Pete Souza

By Stanley Kutler

(Page 2)

Cordray has sued Merrill Lynch for misleading investors and AIG for accounting fraud, winning settlements of $475 million and $115 million, respectively. At the moment, he is the lead plaintiff in a suit against Bank of America, alleging it withheld bad news just prior to its acquisition of Merrill Lynch in 2009. He also has challenged the bond-rating agencies (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors, and Fitch Ratings), charging that they deliberately gave AAA ratings to junk debt to gain additional fees.

In 1993, Cordray was appointed as the state’s first solicitor, and he was responsible for state cases before the Ohio Supreme Court and federal appellate courts. He argued a number of times before the U.S. Supreme Court, most notably in Hanlon v. Berger (1999), involving the constitutionality of media “ride-alongs” with police.

For the friends of popular culture, no résumé of Cordray would be complete without recognizing that he was an five-time champion on television’s “Jeopardy,” winning more than $45,000. He apparently used his winnings to repay his law school debts, buy a used car and pay his taxes.

One thing Cordray is not is an appellate judge; moreover, he holds other credentials that should make him—or someone similar—attractive to the president and give the Court and the country a refreshingly different kind of judge. Cordray is a smart and capable lawyer with Supreme Court experience, perhaps the ear of its swing justice, and an eagerness to take on Wall Street. He has proven himself knowledgeable about the history of our constitutional law, not the ideological pretense and folly that is peddled through the media. On health care reform and financial regulation—the two issues that top Obama’s list of priorities and that could be threatened by the high court—Cordray is a proven ally of the president.


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Cordray cannot be unknown to Obama. When Obama appeared in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 13, 2008, Cordray introduced the candidate on a platform draped in the familiar slogan, “Change We Can Believe In.” The candidate, now president, might remember Cordray as just the kind of change folks had in mind.

Stanley Kutler is the author of “Judicial Power and Reconstruction” and other writings.

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By jc, April 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Would rather see him as the next Pres. of the US, than a Supreme Court Judge.

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By PatrickHenry, April 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

Allan Krueger, I couldn’t agree more, Spitzer would be an excellent choice.

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By Maani, April 18, 2010 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment


Although I, too, think Spitzer would be a great choice, there is simply no way he would ever get through the confirmation process.  This is because it was not simply a mmatter of being a “cheating husband.”  He broke laws re interstate tgransport for sex and, perhaps even more important re any nomination, hypocritically engaged in exactly the same (illegal) behavior as he was very visibly taking on as NYS AG.

Sadly, he screwed up his change to be U.S. AG, and has done the same re SCOTUS.

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By ocjim, April 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

We have let the neo-conservative think tanks dictate our country’s direction for far too long. Our country’s decline is encapsulated in the cynical and Machiavellian
—in effect—coup that has transformed our country into a polarized, narcissistic set of people.

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By Allan Krueger, April 18, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

Here is my choice: Spitzer! He has been convicted of being a cheating husband… BIG DEAL! He is a straight shooter if you ask me and would make an excellent justice - unlike some of the current Supremes, who are trying to lead the country (from the bench) back to the 19th Century!

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By Allan Krueger, April 18, 2010 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

I couldn’t agree more!

Hey moderator, I originally just wanted to say, “Amen!” I received a notice that said this was a duplicate of another comment, which was not allowed… Where is the other Amen comment? I don’t see it.

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By berniem, April 17, 2010 at 11:54 am Link to this comment

For precisely the reasons posited for Cordray’s nomination such will not occur as it will displease the corporatists who oversee the functions of our government at all levels. A suitable candidate must subscribe to neoliberal economic dogma as well fundamentalist theocracy.

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By Joe Cranberry, April 17, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This indecisive president has to embrace his liberal following, surely he will not be re-elected given his record so far.

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By ofersince72, April 17, 2010 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

It is so difficult for Dems

Repubs nominate who THEY want and Democrat oppsition
be damned.

The Dems…they have to think and think “oh my, will
Jeff be OK with this, I must not upset him too much.”

Democrats don’t know what they stand for,
Republicans do.  It seems the Dems figure they must have
to stand for what republicans stand for toooooooooo

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By samosamo, April 17, 2010 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

““Apparently Obama and his predecessors have wittingly or
unwittingly created an imbalance in religious affiliations, as the
court now has six Catholics and two Jews.”“
Hope this doesn’t influence supreme judgement from the bench
but as far as that goes there is more of a problem with the
ideological federalists that sit on the court which surely
confounds the hell out of things now. Especially with those
federalist’s confounded decision of late by granting corporations
almost unfettered influence in the american political scene now
for a supposedly long time to come before a right mix on the
court will or congress will strike down the federalists ‘gift’ to
corporate america.  That should be reversed to make these non
persons once again heavily accountable for their devious and all
too regular criminal behavior and where lobbying is regarded
the criminal act of bribery that it is and makes the the briber
and the bribee both susceptible to indictment and prosecution.

It would really help if a conscientious SCOTUS would rule on the
antitrust situation of the monopoly/duopoly of the mainstream
media that is clogging the whole system with just one main
ideology that defeats any kind of diversity that is supposed to be
a part of what this country is about.

But the biggest jolt is that being able to end the power faction of
those 5 ardent federalist capable of rendering even more
insidious rulings that will have no bearings on the rights of
people but for the new farcical thing of a corporate person.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, April 17, 2010 at 8:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In order to get the republican love and support he craves Obama would have to nominate Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck.  I won’t be surprised if he does.

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By doublestandards/glasshouses, April 17, 2010 at 8:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Democrats won’t choose leftist equivalents to Scalia and Thomas ‘cus it’s not nice.

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By ofersince72, April 17, 2010 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

How much time does the president need to pick a
nominee?  What takes him more than ten minutes?
  He taught constitutional law,  he should know his
beliefs and many able souls.

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By Jackie, April 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If we still want a democracy (I think that means representative of the people, I
may be wrong), then the new judge needs to be female and not Caucasian nor
have any religious affiliation. That’s just for starters. Then when we get those
candidates assembled, we can begin to wade through their individual

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By SteveL, April 16, 2010 at 9:22 pm Link to this comment

As long as you are imaging things.  Imagine this, the President has a set and puts
Jonathan Turley the constitutional law professor on the Supreme Court.

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By Maani, April 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment


I have been screaming about limited terms for SCOTUS members for over 25 years.  I understand that it makes sense that justices’ terms should straddle more than one president.  That is a given, for obvious reasons.  But life terms are simply ridiculous - and counter-productive to the law.

SCOTUS terms should be 16 years, with a maximum of 20, so that they straddle at least two administrations (particularly in the case of two two-term presidents in a row), but allow for “new blood” on a more regular basis.

This seems so obvious and common sense that I cannot fathom why it is not discussed more, if not actaully put into practice.

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By dihey, April 16, 2010 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

The only rational solution which, alas, requires a change in our Constitution is to appoint SCOTUS members for a restricted length of time such that every president has and average chance of nominating one justice.
Some persons who have the chutzpah to call themselves “progressives” have proposed that Mr. Hoh b nominated.

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By Inherit The Wind, April 16, 2010 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

Um,  While marking it “D”, he DID say Jeff Sessions was the ranking MINORITY member of the committee, didn’t he.  That means he’s GOP.

“that Sen. Jeff Sessions (D-Ala.) sails. Sessions, of course, is the Judicial Committee’s minority leader, whose own appearance before the panel as a judicial nominee ended in failure.”

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By Bill Wolfe, April 16, 2010 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Error! Senator Sessions is a Republican.

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By Amac, April 16, 2010 at 8:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. K
You said that a nomination of Sen Kloubachar would revive memories of Roosevelt’s revenge nomination of Hugo Black….you go on to cite Black’s KKK history, but you supply no comments about Kloubachar herself to back up this comparison, What are you talking about here regarding a Kloubachar nomination?

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By PatrickHenry, April 16, 2010 at 3:35 am Link to this comment

SCOTUS like the federal government should reflect the census in its makeup.

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