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How Paula Jones ruined the Supreme Court’s dinner plans

When President Bill Clinton was in office, he hoped to start a tradition: sitting down regularly with the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.

But it never happened. According to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, something came up.

“He was hit first with Paula Jones and then other things,” Ginsburg told a crowd of about 2,000 at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in Dallas Monday, according to the Associated Press.

In her remarks, Ginsburg also lamented the polarization of the Supreme Court confirmation process, saying that she doubts she would have been confirmed if she were nominated today.

“I wish we could wave a magic wand and go back to the days when the process was bipartisan,” Ginsburg told the crowd, adding: “Today, my ACLU connection would probably disqualify me.”

Prior to her appointment as a federal judge on the DC Circuit, Ginsburg was general counsel for the ACLU, and helped found the group’s Women’s Right Project. Such a resume item would prove too controversial to win confirmation today, Ginsburg said. Even in 1993, White House officials prepping her for her Senate hearings warned her it would be a hot-button topic.

She told them: “There’s nothing you can do to get me to bad mouth the ACLU.”

Could Sec. Clinton become Justice Clinton?

Speculation about who President Obama might nominate to the Supreme Court, should a vacancy or two arise, is swirling like the windblown snow in downtown DC.

Obama has mentioned a desire to look outside the federal judiciary for Supreme prospects. But might he look to his own State Department and tap Sec. Hillary Clinton?

That’s the notion being floated by Mark McKinnon and Myra Adams at The Daily Beast.

“Given the Clintons ambition for power, most would agree that Hillary doesn’t see secretary of State as the final chapter in her career,” the authors reason. “Certainly she’d like to be president.  But increasingly, she has to view that prospect as a declining one.”

They argue that the High Court post is one of the very few assignments that would be a step up for Clinton. And, they write, the move would eliminate any lingering bad feelings between the Clintons and Obama in the aftermath of the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. And even in a partisan Senate, they said, she could muster enough Republican support to win confirmation.

This isn’t the first time the prospect of naming Clinton to the Court has been suggested. In 2008, there was a rumor that Hillary wanted Obama to name her to the Supreme Court. She later denied the notion, saying her only aspiration was to “be the best senator from New York that I can be.” Within months, she was the next secretary of State.

Monday Status Conference: Confirmation vote scheduling conflicts

The only topic on the minds of folks on Capitol Hill and in the White House besides health care seems to be Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. And although she faces some opposition from Senate Republicans, the biggest question surrounding her confirmation seems to be when it will happen, not if it will happen. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has set the vote on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor for Tuesday, but Republicans want to wait until July 28.

Meanwhile, in other legal news from Washington:

GOP A-OK: Three Republican senators have already said they will vote for the nominee. (ABA Journal)

EEOC top pick: President Obama has made his selection to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Jacqueline Berrien. (Lawyers USA)

Clinton case dismissed: A federal judge on Thursday threw out a 13-year-old lawsuit against Hillary Rodham Clinton involving the White House’s handling of FBI background records. (AP)

Bad times for AG: Dealing with congressional clashes, angry judges and a cracked tooth, it hasn’t been a good month for Attorney General Eric Holder. (WaPo)

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