Picking a Supreme Court Justice a Sporting Matter

The imminent retirement of Supreme Court Associate Justice David Souter has opened broad speculation about his possible replacement.  If you don’t think that matters much in the world of sports, you better ask around. The NFL is especially interested in the actions of the current Court.

Sonia Sotomayor

The leader in the clubhouse is Sonia Sotomayor, a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Second Circuit, has already changed the course of American sports multiple times.  She shut down the union-busting attempt by MLB in 1995, ending the 1994 baseball strike.  She also stood up for the NFL’s age limit against Maurice Clarett a decade later.

However, she’s not the only speculative shortlister with an effect on recent sports history:

  • Leah Ward Sears, a member of the Georgia Supreme Court, wrote the decision that released Genarlow Wilson from his decade-long sentence for aggravated child molestation, calling it “extraordinarily harsh”.
  • Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm would probably happily accept a position on the Supreme Court bench if only to avoid having to lose more bets with other states, including North Carolina, California, and Missouri.

Jennifer Granholm

  • If Illinois’ attorney general, Lisa Madigan, receives a boost from her familiarity to President Obama and gets the nod, she will bring her Spitzer-esque crusades with her to confirmation proceedings.  They include attempts to extract the mob from casinos in Illinois, especially in the city of Rosemont. Major sports leagues have a stake in clean gambling.
  • And finally, a surprise Hillary Clinton appointment to the Court will benefit 5-6 of her favorite baseball teams.

(A hat tip with flourish to SLATE for their fine Supreme Court coverage, which was invaluable to this piece.)