Consider Larry Lessig for the long list for the Supreme Court

I’m sure that since the transition, President Obama’s team has been thinking about nominees for the Supreme Court.  A democratic president means that some of the justices that weren’t comfortable with an imbalance on the court could finally get to retire.  And now we have one.

I don’t know if they’ve considered it, and I don’t know Larry well enough to know if he’d want it, but I think you should take a moment and consider why Larry Lessig might make a qualified and interesting choice for Supreme Court justice.

Yes, I know he’s not a woman, a latino, or an African American.  Diversity on the court is important, and frankly, Larry is a white guy.  But hear me out…

  1. Larry is wicked smart.  Not just accomplished, but smart beyond what hard work brings you.  If there’s any hope for finding someone who will have a chance at getting past the partisan gauntlet, they would have to be that smart.
  2. He’s pretty solidly in touch with the middle class.  I don’t think Larry has had to worry too much about affording groceries, but I doubt he’s ever had to decide whether to get the brown or the black interior for a new boat.  His family, like many American families, is doing well but not to the point where he longer worries about things like catastrophic illness devastating his family’s finances.  (Let me tell you, that chestnut about all of us being one diagnosis from bankruptcy, that can happen to most people in this country, even with health insurance.  You should see the bills my sister and stepfather dealt with after my mom’s cancer)
  3. Besides copyright, his latest focus has been on an issue that serves all of us well, and that is corruption.  While it would make him no friend to the entire Senate that would have to confirm him, any issue agenda you support is made better by a lack of corruption.  We all benefit from his work to end corruption, and I would argue that because of the corruption present in the two other branches of government, only the judicial branch has a chance of solving this problem.
  4. Larry is empathetically interested in the law.  After all, he doesn’t study these problems because he’s interested in making arcane points about the law in some sort of “I’m smart because I know this byzantine set of facts” manner.  Larry delves into problems such as copyright and corruption because they make a very real difference in how we live our lives, and exercise our country’s full creative and economic potential.

I don’t know Larry Lessig well enough to know if he’d even want the job.  It would mean an enormous commitment for him and end every other avenue of advocacy he’s been pursuing.  He may even chafe at the restrictions that being on the Supreme Court require, and may not enjoy the heavy give and take that seems to characterize the 9 justices that seem to disagree ever so politely.

I specifically am not advocating that anyone start bombarding the White House with letter writing campaigns to advocate his appointment, but I think it’s worth passing this meme around.  He’s one of our society’s smartest and most empathetic attorneys who truly understands the impact, both intended and unintended, that the law has on how we live our daily life.  That has to be something that would serve us well on the high court.

Thanks for reading.