Tales from the Trail

Bill Clinton urges Obama to think young for Supreme Court

clintonWhile playwright George Bernard Shaw argued youth is wasted on the young, former President Bill Clinton on Sunday urged President Barack Obama to put youth high on the list of attributes for the next United States Supreme Court nominee.

“I’d like to see him (President Barack Obama) put someone in their late 40s or early 50s on the court and someone, you know, with a lot of energy for the job,” Clinton said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, one of the oldest and longest-serving justices in history, announced earlier this month he would resign. Stevens celebrates his 90th birthday on April 20.

Clinton, 63, said he would enjoy sitting on the high court, but at his age did not think it would be a good idea and besides he loves the humanitarian work he is doing.

And he suggested that his wife, 62-year-old Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose name has been bandied about for a seat on the high court, would also “advise the president to appoint someone 10, 15 years younger.”

Busted at the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court unveiled a white marble bust of the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was remembered as an exceptional lawyer, a skillful judicial administrator and an avid tennis player. COURT

The $50,000 marble portrait of  the influential conservative jurist wearing his judicial robe will join the busts of 15 other former chief justices in a prominent hallway before the entrance to the courtroom. Rehnquist died from cancer four years ago after serving on the nation’s highest court for more than 33 years.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who once worked for Rehnquist as a Supreme Court law clerk and then succeeded him, and  Justice John Paul Stevens, both described Rehnquist as a great chief justice at a special ceremony Thursday.

U.S. Supreme Court turns to question of beaches and hot dogs

WEATHER KATRINAFor all practical purposes, it was like a day at the beach for the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday as the justices considered Florida’s program to bring in sand to save miles of eroding shorelines.

A lawyer for six homeowners in Florida’s Walton County argued the program resulted in a strip of state-owned sand between their property and the Gulf of Mexico, depriving them of their exclusive beach access and violating their rights.

The homeowners want the state to pay them undetermined compensation for the “taking” of their property. But some of the court’s liberals appeared skeptical of the argument.

Is Justice Stevens sending early warning signal?

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has hired only one clerk for the term starting in October 2010, instead of the usual four, fueling speculation that he may be planning to step down next summer, the New York Times reports.

Stevens, 89, is the current court’s longest-serving member. Nominated by Republican President Gerald Ford, Stestevensvens joined the high court in December 1975 and went on to become the leader of its liberal wing.

If  the Chicago-born Stevens steps down, President Barack Obama would have his second opportunity to nominate a justice to the court.