Skip to main content

Mr. Patrick goes to Washington?

On May 1, 2009, Associate Justice David Souter confirmed to the White House his decision to step down from the Supreme Court. Since this confirmation has taken place, there has been a flurry of speculation surrounding Souter's replacement. Senator Specter commented on a possible nominee, “I would like to see somebody with broader experience. We have a very diverse country. We need more people to express a woman's point of view, Hispanic or African American...somebody who's done something more than wear a black robe for most of their lives.” President Obama has said that he wants someone who embodies both “empathy and understanding.” Several individuals with local ties have been reported as being under consideration for the position: Elena Kagan, Solicitor General of the United States and former Harvard Law Dean; Cass Sunstein, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School; and Governor Deval Patrick.

Speculation surrounding Patrick's future in Massachusetts has occurred before. After the then President-elect Obama's election night rally, rumors suggested that the Governor was headed to D.C. to be part of the Obama Cabinet. Patrick denied any such possibility and expressed interest in a second term as governor of the Bay State. He was quoted by the Boston Globe as saying, “We have an ambitious agenda and a lot of work to do here. Frankly if the people will have me, I'd be interested in a second term.” Governor Patrick has issued a similar denial to the latest crop of rumors.

If President Obama were to appoint Patrick to this position, not all local residents would be sorry to see him leave. Hailed as someone who would bring a fresh approach to politics, Governor Patrick, nevertheless, managed to raise the ire of some within days of taking office with a series of missteps. He was especially criticized for his attempt to appoint a fundraiser to a cushy job as a personal secretary for his wife. After more than two years as the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the reviews on Patrick's performance are no less mixed.

Obama has pledged to name Souter's replacement on Friday, May 8, 2009. So, Bostonians, along with the rest of the country, will discover his pick then.