U.S. Supreme Court needs Hawaii judge
President Bush obviously heeded my suggestion that my dog Boomer and the dust ball under my bed were at least as qualified to be a U.S. Supreme Court justice as Harriet Miers.
The self-centered Washington, D.C., press corps insists it was pressure from the far-right wing of the Republican Party that led to Miers withdrawing her name from consideration for a position on the highest court in the land. They don't realize that Bush is an avid reader of "Honolulu Lite," which is often referred to as "the pulse of the nation" in the checkout aisles of the Kaneohe Safeway. (Or was it "repulse"?)
In any case, Miers is out of the running, as she should be. As I pointed out in the now-famous "Dust Ball for Supreme Court" column, it wasn't that she was not qualified. It's just that if she was, then so were a whole lot of other entities. How Bush could go from selecting a nationally recognized legal intellect like John Roberts for chief justice to nominating the former head of the Texas Lottery Commission and Bush family boot-licker is hard to figure.
Americans, in particular, and democracy watchers worldwide would like to think that Bush is searching the entire country for the best person to be on the Supreme Court, not one of several people in an adjoining room to the Oval Office.
To show that he has expanded his search parameters, I suggest that Bush now nominate someone as geographically far away from the White House, yet still in the United States, as possible. That would be Hawaii.
Finding someone a Republican president can nominate from Hawaii, however, is no easy trick. While you don't have to have been a judge, or even a lawyer, to serve on the Supreme Court, it apparently helps. Running a state lottery commission apparently doesn't.
All the Hawaii state Supreme Court justices are out of the running because they are Democrats, as well as 99.9 percent of regular old state judges.
Hawaii's two female federal judges, Helen Gilmore and Susan Oki Mollway, won't get the nod from Bush because they were both appointed by Bill Clinton. (It is too early to tell if history books will separate women associated with the Bill Clinton administration into two categories: "appointed by" and "groped by.")
Bush could nominate Hawaii U.S. District judges David Ezra or Alan Kay, both of whom were appointed by Ronald Reagan. Or Bush could nominate the guy he appointed to the federal bench in Hawaii himself earlier this year, J. Michael Seabright. I knew Seabright when he was an assistant U.S. attorney, and he's a bright guy. He is from Wheeling, W.Va., which could be problematic during Senate confirmation hearings. I was a cub reporter in Wheeling, and I could testify on Seabright's behalf that all of the residents of that fair city now have indoor plumbing and that blood feuds in the "hollers" are largely a thing of the past. (Just kidding, your honor.)
But my choice for a U.S. Supreme Court nominee from Hawaii -- listen up, W. -- is Senior U.S. Judge Samuel King.
Sam King is a Hawaii icon and, he'll honestly tell you, one of the smartest people in the islands. Actually, he won't tell you that. He's too modest. King was appointed by Richard Nixon shortly before he resigned, so Hawaii got lucky there.
King has been known to refer to the members of the nation's highest court as "the Supremes" or "the guys in the black muumuus," which shows he wouldn't be intimidated by the position. Judge King's humor and wit is legendary, and God knows we could use a little of that on the Supreme Court. There's too little levity on the high court. The last time Associate Justice David Souter smiled was when he tricked Republican senators into believing he was a conservative.
Charles Memminger, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org