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Obama for Supreme Court? Clinton is open to the idea

The Democratic presidential front-runner told a voter that appointing Obama to the high court would be a "great idea."
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit, Jan. 20, 2016. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP)
President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks at the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in Detroit, Jan. 20, 2016.

DECORAH, Iowa — Hillary Clinton said Tuesday she would consider appointing President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court, if she’s elected president.

At a town hall meeting here five days before the Iowa caucuses, a voter asked the Democratic presidential candidate if she would be open to nominating Obama, a former constitutional law professor and president of the Harvard Law Review, to the nation's highest court. Clinton laughed and marveled that no one had ever asked that question. 

“That’s a great idea,” she said, noting that the next president may be able to appoint as many as four justices. "I would certainly take that under advisement. I mean, he is brilliant and he can set forth an argument."

RELATED: Why are Sanders and Clinton leaving Iowa?

The former secretary of state went on to note that getting Obama confirmed by the Senate would be difficult, saying the task would require Democratic control of the upper chamber. 

Clinton’s answer may have been somewhat facetious, but it comes as she ties herself as closely as possible to Obama, the man who beat her in Iowa eight years ago during a contentious Democratic primary. In her current presidential primary, Clinton is hoping to convince voters she — and not insurgent candidate Bernie Sanders — is the natural heir to Obama.

The only former president to serve on the Supreme Court is William Howard Taft, who was appointed to be chief justice of the court by President Warren Harding about decade after Taft left presidency. 

But Obama seems uninterested in the job. Asked in 2014 about a post-White House life on the bench, Obama told The New Yorker that he’s not well suited “to sit in a chamber and write opinions.” 

“I think being a Justice is a little bit too monastic for me,” Obama said. “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.”