The Latina Lesbian Whom Obama Should Nominate To Replace Scalia

JMarquez503-web2Whoever President Obama nominates to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court will be on a kamikaze mission. Republicans in the Senate have already made it clear that they have zero intention of ever letting Obama appoint Scalia’s replacement, going so far as to promise that they won’t even hold a hearing on the nominee. The excuse is dressed up with a historical fig leaf, but the hard reality is that an Obama appointee would mean the end of the conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

The list of potential nominee is long and, as might be expect, distinguished. Not that any of that matters to the Republican majority in the Senate.

With virtually no chance that his nominee will even get a vote, Obama really has nothing to lose. So why not go for a bold choice: a Latina lesbian.

Monica Márquez has been a justice on the Colorado Supreme Court since 2010. She has a CV that makes her a credible candidate. As a graduate of Yale Law School, she has the requisite Ivy League credential. She clerked for two federal judges. She has worked for Republicans, earning praise from her onetime boss, former Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. Before she went to law school, she spent two years working with at-risk children in Camden, N.J., and Philadelphia.

Under normal circumstances, Márquez would be considered a few career steps away from the top bench. A federal court appointment is the usual route for Supreme Court nominees.

But the current situation is far from normal. The nomination is going to be a political statement about what matters to Obama and a thumb in the eye to Republicans. Why not go as bold as possible?

In fact, Márquez brings some advantages to the process. A Latina nominee would underscore the GOP’s problem with anyone who isn’t white. Colorado is a swing state, so the failure of her nomination could spur Democratic turnout. And the visibility would help establish Márquez as a promising candidate for a future successful nomination to the federal bench.

The problem Obama will have in selecting a nominee is that whoever that person is runs the risk of blowing his or her chances of any future shot at the Supreme Court. Few people on the obvious short list will be willing to take that risk.

Whether Márquez would be willing to put herself through the horror show is unclear. Obama is famously risk averse, so a move this bold would be out of character. But at this point in his presidency, what does he have to lose? And wouldn’t it be worth it just to see the heads of the Republican leadership explode in sychronization?

Photo credit: Colorado Judiciary