The Senate gets back from its recess on February 22, and boy oh boy are they going to have some fun business waiting for them.
For now, though, it's time to just enjoy the wild furore of the SCOTUS Speculation Machine. Who's Obama going to nominate? Will it be, as the Onion suggested, a gay transsexual abortion doctor? (That person sounds fun.) Will it be Attorney General Loretta Lynch? Or Elizabeth Warren? Personally, I'm hoping for Cicely Tyson, she hasn't had many good roles lately.
Whoever the nominee is, they'll need to have impeccable professional qualifications. And yet there's a lot of attention being paid right now to the candidates' demographic backgrounds: race, gender, national origin. Those qualities are of course essential as well, which is why the qualifications of the possible nominees include their immutable traits alongside their accomplishments. The Supreme Court was all white dudes for around 200 years, so it's nice to be fixing that imbalance now with some astonishingly talented people.
Loretta Lynch, for example—she studied law at Harvard, earned bipartisan approval during her confirmation as United States Attorney General, and spent years nailing crooked bankers. Not only is she a black woman, she is an eminently qualified black woman. She's also probably the most confirmable of the options, since so many Republicans have liked her in the past. It would look pretty shitty for them to be like "uh no, never mind, I don't like her anymore" at this point.
This is in contrast to another possible nominee: Elizabeth Warren. Yeah, I know, us coastal left-wing jerks love her. But her rhetoric doesn't go over so well in the rest of the country, and Congressional Republicans sure would enjoy tearing her down in a confirmation hearing. (Or at least, trying to tear her down. Warren can take 'em — the question is, would she want to?) She's also polarizing enough that they'd have the perfect excuse for holding up the confirmation until after the election.
Still, it would be a wonderful consolation to get Elizabeth Warren on the Supreme Court if Bernie Sanders drops out of the race. I'm not saying he's going to; just that Hillary Clinton currently has 467 points in Fivethirtyeight's endorsement primary, while Bernie has 2.
And then there's Sri Srinivasan, who like Lynch earned pretty broad bipartisan support. "Very fine job," Ted Cruz once praised him. He seems like a nice guy, and has done some excellent work. But oh dear, he's also represented Exxon and Enron, people. His record's mixed on environmental issues — some of his decisions have actually strengthened protections — but it sure is a worry to see dirty energy on his resume.
Ultimately, I suspect that most politicians are just hoping for a candidate who'll motivate their base for the election. Democrats want someone who'll get their voters excited; Republicans want the same. So it's possible that we might simply see some not-a-chance stunt casting, with Obama nominating someone not because they're qualified, but because they can get butts in booths.