Thoughts on picking a non-judge for the Supreme Court
An interesting article in the National Law Journal.
I'd agree that the tend of the last few decades -- select only Federal Court of Appeal judges, on the theory that they have experience and a track record -- is one that treats judging as something separate from knowing the law. I compared the various Justices who sat on the Warren Court -- the days when Frankfurter and Black and Harlan sparred on the real meaning of the 14th Amendment, etc., and also the early years of the Rehnquist Court. I got:
Earl Warren – attorney general and governor of California.
Felix Frankfurter – private practice, then a law prof, and economic advisor to FDR.
Hugo Black – went straight from the US Senate to the Supreme Court. Judicial experience consisted of sitting as a police court judge for a year.
William O. Douglas – Law prof, then a seat on the Security & Exchange Commission.
John M. Harlan – private practice, ass’t US Attorney, and one year on a circuit court.
Bill Rehnquist – private practice, Ass’t Attorney General.
Lewis Powell – private practice
Thurgood Marshall – private practice, chief counsel for NAACP, four years on a Circuit court, then Solicitor General.
Thomas Clark – private practice, then Attorney General.