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May 19, 2009

More on my personal favorite surprise SCOTUS short-lister

As noted in this prior post, I was surprised and pleased to hear my co-author and pal (and sentencing guru) Nora Demleitner, the current Dean at Hofstra University School of Law, on an NPR segment suggesting novel SCOTUS short-list names.  Now I am also pleased that Newsday has this follow-up story about Nora's sudden status as a SCOTUS short-lister:

Much to her surprise, the dean of Hofstra University Law School woke Sunday morning to find she had just been thrust into the national political conversation as a possible contender for a seat on the United States Supreme Court.

National Public Radio speculated that Dean Nora V. Demleitner, 42, of Port Washington, was among those being considered by President Barack Obama for a job on the nation's highest court. "I was very surprised in that NPR mentioned me," Demleitner said in an interview Monday. "It's an incredible honor to be mentioned."

But the speculative allusion by legal affairs reporter Nina Totenberg may be as far as it goes. Demleitner said she has not been contacted by anyone from the Obama administration. The staff of Judiciary Committee member Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) declined to comment on Demleitner's possible nomination to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter, who is retiring in June when the court's term ends.

Brian Griffin, former president of the Criminal Courts Bar Association of Nassau County, said he read about Demleitner's potential candidacy in the newspaper. "I wasn't aware of her until she started appearing on the radar in the last few days," Griffin said. "It's comforting to know that someone with serious understanding of criminal law — the serious consequences and permanency of any conviction — is being considered for the Supreme Court."

Demleitner said she was baffled about how her name got mentioned. "Like everybody else, I know a lot of people who have connections, but I could not begin to imagine who would have done it," Demleitner said of a possible nomination....

Professor Julian Ku, who teaches constitutional and international law at Hofstra, said Demleitner has some unusual qualifications. "What makes her different is that her work is not focused primarily on U.S. laws. She's looking at U.S. laws in the context of the global community," said Ku. "There is no one like her on the court. It would be totally an out-of-the-box pick."

In January 2008, Demleitner became the first woman and the youngest person to assume the dean's post in the law school's 39-year history, according to Sun Min, a spokeswoman for the law school. Demleitner spent most of her career in academia, teaching in Germany, Italy, Michigan, Texas, Miami and at Hofstra. She has written extensively on the disfranchisement of convicted felons.

For various reasons, I would be (wonderfully) shocked if Nora was selected for SCOTUS this time around.  But I am intrigued (and hopeful) about the possibility that her new short-list status might foreshadow the possibility that she be named, say, to the US Sentencing Commission or to the Second or DC Circuit or to any other important national position that could profit greatly from having someone with Nora's diverse background and keen insights on an array of issues.

Some recent related posts:

May 19, 2009 at 10:23 AM | Permalink


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I guess I am a cretin, but I want my SCOTUS judges to be focused primarily on U.S. laws. I always believed more could be gained by our SCOTUS judges spending their summers with farmers in Salina, Kansas, than with their French counterparts in Nice, France.

Posted by: tom | May 19, 2009 11:30:11 AM

It depends on the education level of the farmers, right? I mean, if they do not have law degrees, it would seem like a bit of a waste.

Posted by: S.cotus | May 19, 2009 1:31:23 PM

This person sounds like a wonderful candidate - but is there any reason to believe that Ms. Demleitner is actually being considered by the president for the SCOTUS? Anyone can "speculate" who the nominee might be, but unless there's some good reason or source for that speculation, why report it?

Posted by: rn | May 19, 2009 5:45:15 PM

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