Adam Liptak's article in today's New York Times is actually quite interesting -- yes, it's worth pointing out that it was much more common in the past for Supreme Court justices to have had experience as legislators, governors, and attorneys in private practice.
But is Liptak really so out of touch that he could write this in all seriousness (emphasis added)?
During the campaign last year, Mr. Obama said he would consider candidates with practical political experience, pointing to Earl Warren, who was governor of California before he became chief justice in 1953. The Warren Court was a golden age for liberals, and the chief justice's political skills helped unify the court.
That sort of thinking might argue in favor of candidates like Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm of Michigan, Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Janet Napolitano, the homeland security secretary and a former governor of Arizona.
Seriously? Liptak can actually imagine Obama picking the #1 person on the GOP base's current Antichrist list?
Obviously, Napolitano-hate is confined to a very narrow core of wingnuts -- but any GOP senator in America (with the possible exception of Maine's Snowe and Collins) who in any way aided or abetted Napolitano's ascendancy to the Court would be extremely vulnerable to a primary challenge, to a vastly depleted money stream from the base, to demonization by Limbaugh and Fox, and so on. Anyone who helped her ascendancy would be the GOP's Lieberman.
President Obama doesn't seem to be at all worried about keeping her in her current job, and he's going to have a fight no matter who his nominee is, but he's certainly not going to invite the maximum amount of trouble by making her his Court pick.
So why mention her even hypothetically?