The perfect U.S. Supreme Court nominee

By Chris Carlson

Dear Mr. President:

Allow me to suggest respectfully the perfect nominee to the Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

The person I am going to suggest is eminently qualified, possesses the demeanor and deportment of a justice, and has served as the attorney general of a Western state. He has been confirmed by the Senate for an important sub-cabinet post, is a minority, did NOT matriculate at Yale, Harvard, or your alma mater, Columbia, and hails from west of the Mississippi.

These latter points are not minor inasmuch as you have gone on record saying that the Ivy League should not have a monopoly on Supreme Court appointments.

Some would dispute my claim that he is “perfect” in that when he ran for public office, as the Democrat he is, and he parted company with the purists who hold that any and all Democrats have to pass the litmus test of being pro-choice. Out of both personal and religious conviction he considers himself to be pro-life.

However, as a jurist he would show great deference to precedence. It would be for the Senate Judiciary committee to question and determine just how much of a strict constructionist he might be. By nature he is taciturn, measures his words carefully and some might consider him to be somewhat of a conservative Democrat.

Others might say that because he is in his 60s he is too old to be a justice. The counter to that is he keeps himself in excellent shape, is a retired officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and neither smokes nor consumes alcohol.

In naming this individual you would be setting several firsts, which in and of themselves will make it difficult for Republican senators to refuse to give him a hearing. Who is this perfect nominee?

I am respectfully suggesting you nominate, and the Senate hold hearings this Congress, to weigh the worthiness of Larry Echo Hawk. He would, as a full blood member of the Pawnee Nation, be the first Native American nominated and the first member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nominated. He was elected by the people of Idaho to be their attorney general, and in 1994 came within a whisker of being the first Native American to be elected as governor of a state.

A graduate of Brigham Young University, where he starred as a defensive back on the BYU football team, he received his law degree from the University of Utah. He further served on the faculty of the BYU law school and was interim dean.

Presently, he serves on the Quorum of 70, the second-highest governing body in the LDS church. And the fact that he is a Mormon in good standing presents a dilemma for Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a past chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. How can he refuse to give a person of Echo Hawk’s standing in their church a hearing? How can his judiciary colleagues, Utah junior Sen. Mike Lee, or Arizona’s junior Sen. Jeff Flake, both of whom are LDS, not act on this historic nomination?

Or Idaho’s senior Sen. Mike Crapo, a former LDS stake president and a bishop — how can he oppose even meeting with Idaho’s former attorney general? Even the “shadow shogun” of Idaho Republicans, Idaho Falls billionaire businessman Frank VanderSloot, also LDS, might be motivated to get off the sidelines and urge that Echo Hawk at least be heard.

How does Mitt Romney (for whom VanderSloot raised a lot of money) react? He almost has to commend you, Mr. President.

If Larry Echo Hawk gets a hearing, he’ll be confirmed. You can bet the Senate’s most prominent LDS Democrat, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, will take care of that detail.

It will be a win for all Americans as the public will fall in love with Echo Hawk. It will be a win for the Supreme Court and its ability to once again render decisions because there will be nine justices. It will be a win for the Senate as it shows that public partisan differences can be set aside for the common good. And last but not least, it will be a win for you, Mr. President, as it will reflect on your ability to have produced a solution that looked like it was headed for a train wreck.

It will be historic, Mr. President. I respectfully urge you to send the Senate the name of Larry Echo Hawk to be the next justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

A native of Kellogg, journalist Chris Carlson pens his column from his retirement home near Medimont in Northern Idaho. He is a former teacher and was press secretary to former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus.