WASHINGTON (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton said Sunday that someone who hasn’t been a judge should be considered for the Supreme Court — but scratch the idea of the ex-president or his wife as a justice.
Mr. Clinton suggested that President Obama follow a model that Mr. Clinton used when he tried unsuccessfully to persuade then-New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell to agree to be nominated to the high court.
Justice John Paul Stevens’ recent decision to retire hands Mr. Obama a second chance to shape the court.
Mr. Clinton, who has not been a judge, told ABC’s “This Week” that at 63 he’s too old to be considered, much as he might enjoy serving on the Supreme Court. He said his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, also might have been interested in past years, but not now.
Mr. Clinton, who also had two court vacancies during his first years in office, ended up nominating two federal appeals court judges, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. Justice Ginsburg was 60, and Justice Breyer was in his early 50s.
The former president urged Mr. Obama to pick someone around 50 years old.
Mr. Obama’s Democratic predecessor in the White House said Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Mitchell, who had been a judge before serving in the Senate, would have made good justices, but both turned him down. He said he hopes Mr. Obama takes a look at someone who hasn’t been a judge.
Among those reported to be under consideration, Solicitor General Elena Kagan, 49, has never been a judge.
Others who fit that description are Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, 52; Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, 51; and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, 53.
Last year, Mr. Obama chose a federal appellate judge, Sonia Sotomayor, for the high court.
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