yet in the past, the Supreme Court’s great justices have included both politicians and prominent advocates, some of them household names. Justices such as Earl Warren, Hugo Black and Salmon Chase were already widely known. So was William Howard Taft, former president. Thurgood Marshall and Louis Brandeis were practically household names.
This isn’t to suggest that selecting a non-Ivy League non-judge who has not been a clerk would suddenly cure the nation of its current passionate mistrust toward those in authority. But it might help.
I mean this quite seriously. My Yale colleague Akhil Amar has written thoughtfully about what he calls the “judicialization” of the Supreme Court. It is rare nowadays for anyone to be selected who has not attended a top law school, enjoyed a top clerkship and spent several years on the bench. In his book “The Law of the Land: A Grand Tour of Our Constitutional Republic,” Amar tells us this: