The guessing game as to who is on the short list of potential nominees for David Souter’s spot on the Supreme Court has begun. Many of the names are understandable because of their experience and credentials, regardless of whether one would support them: Elena Kagan, Cass Sunstein, Sonia Sotomayor, Harold Koh, Diane Wood, and many more.

But one name frequently mentioned is completely baffling from a merits and political perspective: Deval Patrick, Governor of Massachusetts.

Other than serving as a senior (but not top) level Clinton appointee, Patrick has almost none of the qualifications of the others mentioned. Patrick is considered a close political ally of Obama, and famously authored Obama’s “just words” line. But Patrick has political baggage so heavy he would need a forklift to get up the Capitol steps for a confirmation hearing.

This is just a taste, for those who don’t follow Massachusetts politics:

I’m not saying Obama would not nominate Patrick, but if Obama did so, he would be handing Republicans an early Christmas present.

UPDATE: Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz does not think much of a Deval Patrick nomination:

“I hope he doesn’t appoint Deval Patrick. Deval Patrick is a mediocre lawyer. He’s a mediocre governor,” Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor, said on MSNBC. “He would not be one of these enduring types. That would be a crony appointment that might make it through the Senate because the Democrats will have 60 votes. But it would not serve the interests of the country or the interests of Barack Obama’s legacy to appoint his buddy, who is just not a great lawyer.”

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