President Obama could nominate someone reasonable to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, of course: The respected appeals court judge Sri Srinivasan, or judge Jane Kelly, who was unanimously approved by the Senate in 2013.
But Republican Senators insist they're not going to approve anyone that Obama nominates, for any reason. So why not have some fun with this? Why not nominate someone for the express purpose of trolling?
Obama could nominate any number of longtime conservative enemies: Eric Holder, or Loretta Lynch, or Bill Ayers, or the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. He could nominate Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or Louis Farrakhan or Lena Dunham; he could nominate Elizabeth Warren, if only to see a Fox Business Network anchorman's head explode live on air.
Barack Obama could nominate an Obama. He could nominate Michelle. He could nominate Malia. He could nominate himself! Can you imagine the sheer joy of a news cycle in which Barack Obama nominates himself for a Supreme Court position?
Barack Obama could nominate his golf instructor. He could nominate his golf caddy. He could nominate professional golfer Phil Mickelson. He could nominate Jon Stewart; he could nominate John Oliver. He could nominate Beyoncé, but only the Beyoncé from the "Formation" video.
Barack Obama can and should nominate Joseph R. Biden Jr.
Obama could call the Republicans' bluff, and nominate a Republican. This would put them in a delightfully awkward position: He could nominate Ted Cruz, or Jeff Sessions, or Trey Gowdy, or, to hell with it, Dick Cheney. He could nominate Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly or Megyn Kelly or Nancy Grace or Glenn Beck. He could offer to fire Kagan and Sotomayor and Breyer and Ginsberg and replace them with the cast of Fox & Friends. He could nominate Ted Nugent.
He could nominate Martin Shkreli.
Obama could nominate the entirety of Monsanto, or one of the Koch Brothers, or a velvet painting of Sheldon Adelson. He could nominate The Big Banks, or the Job Creators, or The 53 Percent (remember them?). He could pardon the morons who made the phony Planned Parenthood video and then nominate them for co-Justice. He could nominate a gun.
He could nominate the #AllLivesMatter hashtag. He could nominate a "Make America Great Again" hat. He could nominate a Twix bar wearing a USA flag pin. He could nominate a MacBook Pro, baby.
He could nominate The Troops. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for Republican Senators to stall the nomination of The Troops? "Sorry, we don't think The Troops are qualified for the Supreme Court." Are you serious, Senator McConnell? We're talking about The Troops here.
Obama could nominate fictional characters. There is nothing in the Constitution that specifically disallows a Supreme Court Justice from being a character in "The Grinder." He could nominate a Vine celebrity; he could nominate a popular Instagram dog. He could nominate Judge Judy, or Judge Wapner, or Judge Reinhold, or Mike Judge, or Judge Dredd, or David Justice.
"If you aren't going to approve anyone," Obama could say, "I figured I should at least choose someone with 'Judge' in their name."
Obama could create a fictional judge with a liberal background. Let's call this invented character "Judge Smith." He could write fake opinions under Judge Smith's name, and create a trumped-up LinkedIn page for Judge Smith, and a controversial Twitter account. Obama could let conservatives blast this character for several days before he revealed that the person in question was made up. This would, perhaps, be the first Catfishing of the United States Congress in presidential history. It would also be a very satisfying troll.
Obama could settle on the revered Fifth Circuit Court Justice and former Harvard Classmate, Judge Terrence Updog. Judge Vanessa Buttfor would also prove a savvy nomination.
In the end, it doesn't seem to matter who Obama nominates, since any candidate appears doomed to filibusters and protests and congressional temper tantrums. America may have to wait another year for Supreme Court Justice Sri Srinivasan; in the meantime, let's see if Republicans can figure out what to make of Judge Terrence Updog.