California Attorney General Kamala Harris today threw cold water on speculation that she may be on President Obama’s short list for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Harris said — point-blank — she wants to run only for the U.S. Senate.
During a campaign stop at SEIU Local 521 headquarters in San Jose Tuesday morning, Harris stressed she had no interest in being nominated by President Obama for the U.S. Supreme Court after the sudden and unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
“I’m not putting my name in for consideration, I do not wish to be considered, I’m running for United States Senate,” said Harris.
This past weekend, Harris’ name started circulating at warp speed after former Obama White House adviser David Axelrod mentioned her on a news show discussing Scalia’s potential replacement.
“I’m extremely humbled, extremely humbled, and it’s obviously a significant compliment that anyone should think that I be considered,” said Harris, surrounded by a gaggle of news reporters after her meet-and-greet session at the labor headquarters.
Harris said she would like to see someone who has had practical life experience nominated to fill the Scalia vacancy, but would not name anyone.
“Maybe I’m biased but I’d like to see someone who has actually seen the impact of the court and the rulings of the court,” Harris said. “Someone who is not just thinking of it theoretically, but is about understanding how these laws and rulings affect real people.”
Harris — an early and loyal Obama supporter — said it was outrageous for Senate Republican leaders to say they will block any nomination by the president before he leaves office.
“This president is going to be in office through January of next year. We as Americans deserve to have a full, fully staffed United States Supreme Court,” said Harris. “A day that justice is denied is a very long day, and we should not deny justice to people who have issues before the United States Supreme Court.”
With Scalia’s seat empty, some of the most contentious cases may now be deadlocked with a 4-4 split. That includes a case pitting the California Teachers Association against teachers claiming mandatory union payments violate their constitutional right to free speech.
The case was argued before the Supreme Court in early January. In the case of a tie vote at the U.S. Supreme Court, the lower court ruling would stand. In that case, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court ruling in favor of the union.