Van Jones for Supreme Court Justice!

May 11, 2009 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

nick_thumbPenned by Nick

With Justice David Souter retiring, the Obama campaign has an early opportunity to leave the “conservative-liberal” politics of old behind. In its place, the Administration should consider expanding on its progressive message that reaffirms we are “not a red America, or a blue America,” but a united, green America.

Environmental justice issues are poised to shape much of our future in America, though remain poorly understood and underrepresented on the Supreme Court. Bringing an environmental justice activist to the bench would align stakeholder interests across economic, human rights, and international horizons.

Admittedly, Van Jones, though a Yale-trained lawyer, is probably not qualified for the job (if only due to his lack of time on the Circuit). But his ideas, and what he represents, are sufficiently large and inclusive to constitute a seat on the highest court in the land.

For environmentalists, seeing their agenda brought to the fore would be a giant leap forward. Industry, too, would benefit by getting greater visibility into the priorities of the Courts in the years ahead. Haromizing legislation is a big obstacle towards greater environmental investment, but could be a huge opportunity with a green hand rewriting the laws of 21st century business.

At a time when activists, lobbyists, and business people alike are all looking to preserve their own long term economic interest by preserving the environment, it makes sense to bring these pieces together. What more, the environment agenda desperately needs a strong advocate.

With unemployment starting to subside and businesses getting back to business as usual, green jobs remain a priority for the US Administration. The reality of these jobs remains somewhat hard to measure, though there are signs of life. Giving Justice Souter’s job to an environmnetal justice advocate would be yet another sign that we’ve moved the discussion about our common environmental fate beyond dialogue and into action. This decision would be a watershed event that could, in decades ahead, be the very event that saves our our planet, our politics, and our economy.

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