Joe Biden floated a nightmare scenario in Iowa this weekend: Supreme Court Justice Barack Obama.
Asked if he would nominate the former president to the highest court, Biden said, “Yes” — “if he’d take it,” The Hill reported. The 44th president has never explicitly expressed interest in the role, but he remains the most beloved and popular figure in Democratic politics.
Joe Biden floats nominating Obama to SCOTUS
Since Obama left the White House, no Democrat has proven up to the task of filling his shoes — and now, just weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the Democratic primary still doesn’t have a compelling frontrunner.
While Biden stutters and stumbles his way to the nomination, his former boss continues to connect with adoring fans by revealing glimpses of his personal life and tastes, recently releasing lists of his favorite books, movies, and songs in 2019.
Obama has pointedly declined to endorse Biden, who has repeatedly invoked his legacy as Obama’s former veep to appeal to voters seeking a return to pre-Trump “normalcy.” But when asked if he would select Obama for the Supreme Court by an Iowa voter on Saturday, Biden made clear that he would honor his former boss with the plum lifetime appointment.
“If he’d take it, yes,” Biden said.
Obama would become, in this fantasy scenario, only the second president to serve in both roles. The only president so far to serve on the Supreme Court was William Howard Taft, who was president from 1909 to 1913 before President Warren Harding appointed him Chief Justice in 1921, a role he kept until 1930.
Obama: a leader in exile
During his time in the White House, Obama successfully nominated two appointees to the Supreme Court, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. His last nominee, Merrick Garland, was held back by Republicans in the Senate; the open seat went to Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court.
Trump, who also appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh in his first term, tied with Obama for the title of “most admired man” in America in a new Gallup poll. While aspects of Obama’s legacy have come under fire this year, like his record on deportations of illegal immigrants, in many ways he remains the beloved leader in exile of the Democratic party.
Obama worked as a civil rights lawyer and a constitutional law professor before his rise to national stardom in Illinois, The Hill notes, but the former president has never publicly affirmed an aspiration to serve on the Supreme Court.
If anything, Obama appears to have made a comfortable exit from politics with his wife Michelle, entering upon a life of public speaking and book deals à la the Clintons.
Biden would, of course, have to win the nomination, then the presidency for this scenario to be more than just conjecture, and despite a presumed frontrunner status, his candidacy has struggled to generate voter enthusiasm. For now, this nightmare is just a liberal fantasy.