U.S. Supreme Court

Legal Analyst Creates SCOTUS Nominee Short List: All Lawyers with Military Background


For the first time—ever since Justice John Paul Stevens retired from the bench in 2010—there is no one sitting on the nation’s highest court with active, wartime military experience.

Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that, legal analyst Andrew Cohen points this out in an article for the Atlantic.

But Cohen argues that there is certainly value when American leaders, in Congress, in the White House and even on the courts, have firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to be in armed conflict.

“The court’s lack of any connection to military service is emblematic of the larger disconnect between our military personnel and the public officials who both send them off to war and then greet them when they return,” Cohen writes.

So he suggests a short list of nominees, all with military experience, who could be attractive nominees for President Obama should he be re-elected; or for Mitt Romney, should he win the White House.

For Romney, Cohen offers Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an Air Force veteran who served as a military prosecutor.

For Obama, Cohen suggests military lawyer Charles Swift.

Others on Cohen’s short list: Frank Whitney, a longtime Army Reservist who sits as a trial judge in North Carolina; retired Air Force colonel William Gunn, now general counsel of the Department of Veterans Affairs; and Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, now chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay.

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