Econ 1: Spring 2012: U.C. Berkeley: Correcting and Overriding Markets: February 27, 2012
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The Scary Thing Is That My Contacts at UCLA Law School Say They Cannot Tell If This Is a Joke: They Say It's 50-50 Either Way…

Clarence Thomas last asked a question of any of the attorneys pleading before him on February 14, 2007.

UCLA Law School Professor of Law Adam Winkler appears to think that Clarence Thomas is the person we should elect to assume the office of President of the United States on January 21, 2013:

Clarence Thomas Is a Long Shot for President, But His Candidacy Makes a Lot of Sense: [T]he Republicans should consider a more inspired and game-changing pick: Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas…. Unlike the flip-flopping Mitt Romney, Thomas is a true conservative who could appeal to all of the segments of the Republican coalition…. Thomas is also very smart…. Today, it seems as if [Nino] Scalia is more likely to follow [Clarence] Thomas [than the reverse].

Although known for his silence on the bench—he hasn’t asked a question during oral argument in several years…. About his refusal to ask questions, he’s drawn laughs by joking that his “colleagues should shut up!”…. He’s worked at the highest levels of government for over two decades, far longer than the single-term junior senator from Illinois who currently occupies the White House. With considerably less experience than Thomas, Justice Charles Evans Hughes came just a handful of electoral votes away from being elected president in 1916. Despite Thomas’s long service on the Supreme Court, he could also reasonably cast himself as an outsider to Washington  politics unsullied by the partisan taint….

The media would surely bring up Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment. Voters… might be... inclined to forgive Thomas for an indiscretion that occurred 30 years ago. It’s also hard to imagine the Democrats, who still embrace Bill Clinton, gaining much traction with Hill’s old accusations.

Democrats will find plenty of potentially controversial things in Thomas’s judicial opinions, but even here Thomas has a trump card. Those were not statements of his personal political positions, he can say, but merely interpretations of the law…. As president, he can more freely pursue his own policy agenda….

If drafted at the convention at the end of August, Thomas would still have to resign. Nevertheless, Republicans in the Senate could plausibly justify a filibuster of any Obama nominee on the ground that the seat should be filled by whoever wins the White House in November, two months later. And then they’d keep their fingers crossed that Thomas would be that person.

Yes, it is hard to believe that Clarence Thomas would ever be the Republican nominee. Then again, most people thought an inexperienced African-American often mistaken for a Muslim could never defeat presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, much less be elected president.

Is the quality of thought on the legal academic right what it once was?

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