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Hullabaloo


Monday, February 22, 2016

 
Is Obama about to nominate an Exxon lawyer to the Supreme Court?

by Gaius Publius



Is Nicolo Machiavelli about to whisper into Obama's shell-like ear? (Source; click to enlarge)


When we talk amongst ourselves, we leftie writers and activists, I sometimes hear it said that Obama should nominate someone very liberal to replace Antonin Scalia. I also sometimes hear that if he doesn't do that, it's because he feels pressured not to. Immediately after hearing these things, the next phrase going through my head is this one, the phrase that took up residence during the 2009 health care process:

Occam's Switchblade (n. ph.) — "He does it because he wants to." A way to explain a person's otherwise confusing behavior.

Which brings us to Obama's rumored list for Supreme Court justice, the one who will replace the newly departed Scalia. (Side thought — Did Antonin Scalia depart while accepting favors from someone with prior business before the Court? Was he there to be hobbed and nobbed with by any of the 35 other guests, who may also have past or future business before the court? Maybe we'll find out. It's not like he hasn't done it before; Scalia, I mean; accepted gifts, I mean.)

Topping every nomination short-list, printed, rumored and trial-ballooned, is Sri Srinivasan. Mr. Srinivasan is almost always named first (and out of alphabetical order) in lists with more than one name (example here; another here, first paragraph). And, as noted above, it appears he's being trial-ballooned by none other than Joe Biden. 

So let's take a look at Sri Srinivasan as a potential nominee. We'll start with Srinivasan and the climate, the one that Obama dearly loves. If he becomes the nominee, we'll take a look at other aspects of his biography.

Greens are wary of Sri Srinivasan's fossil fuel past

This takedown of Srinivasan comes via Politico of all places. (But wheels within wheels. This doesn't look like a pro-administration article, a placement as it were, but it could be — a media placement that tanks apparent corporate favorite Srinivasan and allows Obama to nominate someone like Loretta Lynch, for example. Perhaps we'll look later at the many-layered chess game in this nomination, as Obama fends off his opponents, both left and right, prevents a possible anti-corporate nominee, notches another ... er, notch ... in his duel with McConnell, and pockets an E-ticket spendable at his post-retirement theme park party. Wheels within wheels.)

Here's Politico (my emphasis):
Greens wary of Sri Srinivasan's fossil fuel past

His work as an attorney representing Enron's former CEO and ExxonMobil raises hackles among some eco-activists.

The prospect of President Barack Obama tapping Sri Srinivasan for the Supreme Court is spawning a sharp debate among at least one part of the Democrats’ liberal grass roots — environmentalists turned off by his high-profile defense of giant fossil fuel companies. ...

Srinivasan’s work on human rights cases in which he defended ExxonMobil and the mining company Rio Tinto have raised particular objections from environmentalists. He also represented that enduring symbol of corporate excess, former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, in the appeal of the executive’s fraud and conspiracy convictions.

"Any judge that sides with Big Oil over the American people has no place on our Supreme Court,” said Jane Kleeb, a Nebraska activist who helped lead the grass-roots campaign that killed the Keystone XL oil pipeline, in an email to POLITICO on Tuesday.

“Corporate interests have trumped citizens’ concerns for too long,” she added. “Folks in the heartland will not look the other way of Srinivasan representing both Enron and Exxon, which denies climate science and pollutes our land and water.”
Jane Kleeb, if you haven't yet heard of her, is entirely reliable on the subject of the climate. A Nebraskan, she's one of the national heroes behind stopping the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have run through her state.

The Exxon Supreme Court Nominee

Assuming Obama does nominate Srinivasan, would Exxon say thank-you in, say, another year or so, for putting an Exxon lawyer on the nation's highest court? Especially if doing so would also block a Sanders or Clinton appointee who might take a dimmer view of the self-dealing insider game played by corporations and both parties alike?

Not sure, but if they did want to thank him, there are ways. I keep thinking of this:


One proposal for the Obama Presidential Library. Like Starfleet Academy, only pricier (source).


These presidential libraries don't build themselves. A person needs friends to help with some of the lifting.

(A version of this piece appeared at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.)

GP


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