Amid speculation over the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, some are envisioning a Minnesotan nominee.
MSNBC, USA Today and CNN are among the prominent news organizations including U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., as a possible appointee to fill the open seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Feb. 13.
Timothy R. Johnson, a University political science and law professor, said he sees Klobuchar as a viable choice.
“I don’t know for sure, but she meets all the criteria,” he said.
Though Klobuchar is well-known for her liberal democratic views, he said, her background as a state prosecutor could help sway more conservative Senate votes.
Such an ability would be necessary to woo a Republican majority in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has vowed to block any of President Barack Obama’s nominations, saying that the next president should pick the replacement.
MSNBC and the New Yorker named Klobuchar as a possible nominee in 2010 and 2014, respectively.
Klobuchar told the Huffington Post in 2010 that if offered, she would turn down the position.
Despite the buzz surrounding Klobuchar, other University professors aren’t sold on the idea that Obama would select the Minnesota senator.
“I would be very surprised,” said professor Heidi Kitrosser, who teaches constitutional law at the University.
She said the president will most likely choose somebody the Senate would have a hard time denying, like Srikanth Srinivasan, a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Srinivasan, a known moderate, was approved for his current position by a 97-0 vote in 2013 and worked under President George W. Bush from 2002 until 2007 as an assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice.
Political Science Lecturer Dr. Kati Mohammad-Zadeh agreed with Kitrosser that Klobuchar is an unlikely choice for the vacant Supreme Court seat.
She said Obama will pick a candidate that will hurt Republicans during the election if they reject the nominee, which wouldn’t be the case with a democratic senator.
Senate Republicans will most likely turn down whomever Obama chooses, Mohammad-Zadeh said. If that happens, she said, the president could use the incident to encourage Democrats to vote.
Nevertheless, she said, Klobuchar’s position as a senator could help her chances in succeeding Scalia despite the gridlock in Congress.
“There is often a deference given to fellow senators,” Mohammad-Zadeh said. “Senators tend to have respect for own their colleagues, no matter what side of the aisle.”