The Right Experience for a Supreme Court Justice:
I've been thinking about what kind of experience is helpful for a Supreme Court nominee. I have come up with the ideal experience the President should seek.

  First, it would be very helpful for the candidate to have a science background, all the better a Ph.D. After she gets her Ph.D., she should spend a few years volunteering to help the poor to get a better sense of poverty in our society. She should then go to law school. After law school, she should clerk for a magistrate judge, a bankruptcy judge, a district court judge, a court of appeals judge, and a Supreme Court Justice. That way, the nominee will have a good sense of what it's like at all stages of the federal court system.

  The candidate should then have considerable practice experience. In particular, the candidate should spend at least 5 years at a large law firm, followed by 5 years as a solo practitioner. That way she'll really understand legal practice. But that practice would be mostly civil law, and Supreme Court Justices also deal a lot with criminal law. The candidate should therefore get experience as a state prosecutor and then experience as a federal prosecutor. After that, the candidate should obtain experience in criminal defense, by spending a few years as public defender in the state system and a few years as a public defender in the federal system.

  Of course, at this point the candidate won't have any Supreme Court experience, and that would be very helpful for a prospective Justice. So I would want the candidate to spend a few years as an Assistant at the SG's Office to understand Supreme Court practice. I think it would also be helpful for the candidate to get experience understanding the executive branch, so I want the candidate to then spend a few years at the Office of Legal Counsel and at least a year in the White House Counsel's office. Experience in Congress is very helpful, too, and a few years as counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee would be an excellent way to get that.

  Next the candidate needs prior judicial experience. The ideal candidate would have a few years of experience as a state trial judge, followed by a few years of experience as a state appellate judge. That way the judge understand law "in the trenches", and also understand the importance of state courts. Next, the candidate should get experience as a federal judge, too. Ideally, the candidate would be a federal trial judge for a few years and a federal court of appeals judge for a few years.

  There's only one more stage at this point: The ideal candidate would have a sense of the political system. We don't need Justices who are pointy-headed beancounters; someone with political experience would be great. In particular, I'd like to see a candidate who served a few years in the state legislature, followed by a few years in the House of Representatives and a term or two in the Senate. It would also be great for the candidate to then have a few Presidential runs and perhaps end up on a national ticket. A term as President or even just VP would be ideal, but then that may be asking too much.

  At this point the candidate would be about 147 years old, an much of her relevant experience would be outdated. The science Ph.D. would be about 120 years past, and the world of legal practice she experienced as as lawyer would be a century outdated. So I would want her to do it again, except this time super-quickly, like a month per job or something, to get a good refresher on things.

  By then there will be a magic pill you can take that can make you any age you want, so we would give her that pill and make our 153 year old Justice a very youthful 32 years old. And that 32 year-old would be the perfect Supreme Court nominee.