The bromance between President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden routinely made headlines when the pair occupied the White House. Now, as he runs for president in 2020, Biden seemingly wants to revive their political collaborations. According to a New York Times report, Biden has considered nominating Obama to the Supreme Court if he is elected.
On Saturday, Dec. 28, Biden made a campaign stop in Washington, Iowa as part of his "No Malarkey" bus tour. During this stop, The New York Times reported that Biden answered questions from supporters during a town hall-style event. One of the attendees at the event asked Biden if he'd consider nominating Obama to the Supreme Court — and the former vice president had an answer ready.
“If he’d take it, yes,” Biden replied.
According to The Hill, should he be nominated and approved, Obama would only be the second former president in American history to serve on the Supreme Court. As of 2019, the only former president to serve on the Supreme Court was William Howard Taft, who was president from 1909 to 1913. President Warren Harding made him the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1921, and Taft served as Chief Justice until his death in 1930.
Of course, there are numerous "ifs" in Biden's potential plan to nominate his old White House partner. He would have to obtain the Democratic nomination, win the election, wait for a vacancy on the Supreme Court, and only then nominate Obama for the position — after which Obama would need to be confirmed by the Senate. But the biggest question of all might be whether or not Obama would actually want to serve on the country's highest court.
The former president has a law degree from Harvard, where he was the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. He practiced as a civil rights attorney in Chicago after he graduated, and taught constitutional law classes at the University of Chicago. But in a New Yorker interview back in 2014 — while he was still in the White House — Obama seemed to be unsure about the idea of moving from the presidency to the Supreme Court.
“When I got out of law school, I chose not to clerk,” Obama told The New Yorker. “Partly because I was an older student, but partly because I don’t think I have the temperament to sit in a chamber and write opinions.”
He added that after the presidency, being on the Supreme Court might be a bit much. “I love the law, intellectually,” Obama said. "But I think being a justice is a little bit too monastic for me. Particularly after having spent six years and what will be eight years in this bubble, I think I need to get outside a little bit more.”
It is unclear whether or not Obama has developed any interest in becoming a member of the Supreme Court since that interview. But Biden is not the first Democratic presidential contender to explore bringing back Obama. Back in 2016, when former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was making her own campaign stops in Iowa, one voter suggested to her that she should nominate Obama to the Supreme Court if elected. "What a great idea," Clinton replied at the time, per CNN.
Although Obama has stayed away from elected office since his departure from the presidency, he has still remained politically active in voting reform and anti-gerrymandering efforts. Whether or not Obama will end up in the Supreme Court one day, however, depends entirely on his own career ambitions — and how the 2020 presidential election goes.