SCOTUS watcher pegs Kamala Harris as Ideal Obama nominee

Tom Goldstein, a noted Supreme Court reporter, believes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will likely retire sometime during President Obama’s potential second term.

Who would be the ideal candidate for the appointment, according to Goldstein?

None other than California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Assuming that President Obama is re-elected and that Justice Ginsburg does retire at some point in the next Administration, who will be the next nominee? One thing is certain: it will be a woman. It is inconceivable that a Democratic administration with any reasonable choice would cause the gender balance of the Supreme Court to revert to seven men and two women. Relatedly, appointing three women in a row to the Court is excellent politics.

President Obama will also have a strong desire to pick an ethnically or racially diverse nominee. It would be disappointing for the nation’s first African-American President to make two white appointments, leaving the Court with seven white members. A more diverse Court is a better legacy. Given that the President already appointed the first Latina Justice, most likely is an African-American or Asian-American nominee. That said, I think race and ethnicity are plus factors, rather than an imperative like gender

In addition to familiarity with the Obama administration and youth (she would turn 50 during a potential second term in the White House), Goldstein says Harris’s credential “check every box.”

She is the recently elected (2010) Attorney General of California. Previously, she was twice elected as the District Attorney for San Francisco (2004-2010); the chief of the unit heading civil code matters in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office (2000-2004); the head of the career-criminal unit in the San Francisco D.A.’s Office (1998-2000); and Deputy District Attorney for Alameda County (1990-1998). Her mother (a breast cancer specialist) is from India and raised her as a single mother; her father (an economics professor at Stanford) is Jamaican-American. She graduated from Howard University as an undergraduate and went to U.C. Hastings for law school.

Goldstein also mentions a positive perception that Harris lacks skeletons in her closet.

That is, as long as her ex-boyfriend, Willie Brown keeps quiet.

(h/t Bay Area Observer).

Zeal for pension reform isn’t matched by fundraising

Two potential pension reform ballot measure for next November are having trouble attracting fundraising dollars, says the Sacramento Bee today:

The group has just over $128,000 to accumulated 807,000 signatures in the next 150 days to qualify for the ballot.

The Bee’s reporter on the labor beat says that’s not enough cash:

Experts say the group needs a huge infusion of cash quickly to have a chance to put one of its two proposals before voters. They are competing with up to a dozen serious initiatives also in play for the November ballot, and changes to districts and new election rules could siphon off even more money.

Pension zealots are also complaining about Attorney General Kamala Harris’ ballot desingation for the possible referendums and the inclusion of three popular profession.

The summaries say the measures would reduce benefits for current and future employees, including “teachers, nurses and police officers.”

The measures don’t alter the guaranteed retirement payouts for current state and local government workers, although they would force most current employees to pay more toward their pensions.

And “the AG selectively lists three positive poll-tested jobs out of thousands of government employee job classifications,” said a Pension Reform press release.

Apparently saying you want to reform pension is easier said than done.