Hail to the Chief, Now Get to Work!

Updated: My latest FindLaw column sets out a proposed agenda for the incoming Obama Administration. (In an uncharacteristically optimistic mood, I wrote it on Monday.) I principally focus on economic issues and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Here I'll add two things about what I know most about: the law.

1) President Obama can now do pretty much whatever he wants on judicial appointments, i.e., nominate well-credentialed liberals. He may lose a conservative Democrat here or there on a very liberal nominee, although Obama's own stated views suggest his nominees would be more in the Ginsburg/Breyer mode anyway, and in any event, no Democratic Senator would filibuster a judicial nominee of his own party for being too socially liberal. When you add Lieberman, Collins and Specter--all socially liberal--you will have enough votes to break any filibuster.

2) If Obama's transition team hasn't already done so, it ought to prepare a plan to close Gitmo almost immediately upon Inauguration. Apparently there is a draft plan circulating among the reasonable foreign policy people (for these purposes, that means Gates and Rice) in the Bush Administration. There will be some knotty questions about what to do with detainees who really are guilty of doing bad things but have also been tortured. But the costs to American prestige of keeping Gitmo open are greater.

Oh, and let me add one other thing: Yipeeeeeeee!!!

Posted by Mike Dorf (henceforth to be known as "Mike the Lawyer")