How Bill Barr Kept Ken Starr Off the Supreme Court (Resulting in David Souter)
A recent episode of Will Baude and Dan Epps’ Divided Argument podcast noted an interesting episode in judicial nomination history, reported in Jan Crawford’s 2007 book Supreme Conflict and highlighted on Lawyers, Guns and Money at the time.
Back in 1990, liberal icon William Brennan retired from the Supreme Court, creating a vacancy for President George H.W. Bush to fill. President Bush ultimately nominated David Souter, largely at the urging of John Sununu and Warren Rudman. Among the other short-listers were Edith Jones (reportedly the runner up), Kenneth Starr, and Laurence Silberman.
Starr, who left the U.S. Court of Appeals to serve as Bush’s Solicitor General had been an early favorite, but Bill Barr helped quash his contention for the seat. According to Crawford, Barr and Michael Luttig (who both held senior Justice Department positions at the time) were among those who opposed to nominating Starr. Their objection was that he was soft on executive power. In particular, they were upset that he had failed to
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