Has Vice President Joe Biden decided who he is backing for the next Supreme Court vacancy?
According to the vice president, he knows of at least one person who should be in the mix: departing Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano.
“Here’s the deal, I think Janet should be in the Supreme Court of the United States,” Biden told the audience assembled in Washington today. “And that not only speaks to the other qualities that I’ve mentioned about your character, but your intellectual capacity and your depth of knowledge.”
Biden’s remark, which was met with raucous applause by those in attendance, faces two minor hangups: there are no openings on the Supreme Court and it’s President Barack Obama, not the former Delaware senator, who gets the final say on any pick. Still, Biden’s endorsement puts a heavy hitter behind Napolitano, who has served in Obama’s Cabinet since the day after he took office in January 2009.
A former Arizona governor and attorney general, Napolitano, 55, completes her time atop an agency with a mandate that has placed her in the center of the top national security and domestic policy debates during Obama’s time in office.
Napolitano was long considered a possible replacement for Attorney General Eric Holder — a job administration officials said she wanted. Holder chose to stay in the role for at least the start of Obama’s second term, and in July the University of California system announced that Napolitano would be its next president.
The Supreme Court’s senior member, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, told Bloomberg News’ Greg Stohr last month that she was in no rush to retire simply to ensure that Obama can appoint her successor before his term ends in 2017.
“I’m hopeful about the next president,” Ginsburg, 80, told Stohr.