Bio: Born in Canada, U.S. citizen since 1980. Harvard Law School; clerked for 6th Circuit Judge Damon Keith; Michigan attorney general; governor since 2003.
If picked: First foreign-born justice since Frankfurter. Brings political savvy to Court full of former appeals judges. Already named in S.C. case, 2005′s Granholm v. Heald.
Appointing Jennifer Granholm to the Supreme Court would respond to the growing clamor in favor of naming someone from outside the “judicial monastery” of appellate judges.
Before her current job as Michigan’s governor, Granholm was the attorney general of her state. She clerked for Judge Damon Keith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit after graduating from Harvard Law School where she edited the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review. Granholm would not be the first Michigan governor on the high court: Frank Murphy had held that position before joining the Court in 1940.
Supporters say she would bring to the Court the practical politician’s view, especially coming from a state hard hit by economic woes. But her legal track record is sparse. As governor, she is the defendant in a class action suit seeking improvements in Michigan’s indigent defense, and lawyers for the state have sought to have the suit dismissed.
Granholm did touch on some legal subjects during a 2009 appearance before the American Constitution Society, the liberal counterpart to the Federalist Society.
“When you execute the law, you really don’t have the luxury of ignoring the impacts on people who are struggling out there, but neither should you ignore them, of course, when you are
interpreting the law,” she said, according to a society report on her comments. Referring to a book produced for the society by three scholars – including embattled 9th circuit nominee Goodwin Liu – she added, “And this why I just love ACS, and why I love this Constitution …, because as [authors] Goodwin [Liu] and [Pam] Karlan and Chris Schroeder all note in that great book that you have — this is a document for the people. It’s ‘We The People’ that starts it, it should be we the people that ends it. It is a profound statement about small-’d’ democracy.”
She continued, “The interpretation of the Constitution should take into account the consequences of that interpretation, as well as fidelity to the text. Obviously the words don’t change, but the facts on the ground do change.”