Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Other Justice Thomas?

Perhaps the least known of the individuals President Obama has interviewed for the Stevens Supreme Court vacancy is Sidney Thomas, a federal appeals court judge who sits in Billings, Montana. (Somewhere, someone is lamenting that they ruled out a clerkship in Montana. Except for a bear sighting in David Letterman's Montana kitchen, it really is a beautiful place.) While gender and religious diversity in the Court's makeup have been discussed at length in relation to Obama's pick, Judge Thomas' consideration raises another point: geographical diversity. It is, after all, the Supreme Court of the United States, and only Justices Kennedy and Breyer can claim roots west of the Mississippi (both California and Justice Breyer has spent most of his life in the East). Would a nominee from Big Sky country bring a fresh perspective?