How to Prepare Obama's Supreme Court Nominee

Prepping a nominee for the high court is a professionalized process.


Be extremely well-prepared before the nomination opens up to make sure that you've got a wide-range of people that have a wide-range of experiences. That means doing your homework. You don't want any surprises. You want to know this person inside and out. Even if there's certain things about the person's background that may not be ideal, knowing beforehand allows you to do something incredibly important in Washington, which is to tell people about it before they hear it from the press. So, you communicate with the senators, you communicate with their staff, you understand what the issue is, you explain it to them, you tell them why, nevertheless, the president decided to make this nomination. And that goes an enormous way toward making it not an issue. Surprise is the enemy of a nominee.

Do you have any cautionary tales for whoever preps Obama's next nominee?

Make sure the people you are using to vet the nominee have two characteristics. One is that they are going to keep it confidential. They're not going to leak to the press how the process is going. Make sure that the people on the murder board not only have discretion, but they also know what they're talking about. These are very intelligent nominees. If they are not being tested by people who are at least in the same ball park, it's not going to be as useful for them.

  • See a slide show of the members of the Supreme Court.
  • See the members of Obama's inner circle.