Janet Napolitano should be on Supreme Court, VP Joe Biden says

WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden made it clear Friday how he feels about departing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

"I think Janet Napolitano should be on the Supreme Court of the United States," he said Friday morning at her going away ceremony.

His statement was met with raucous applause by those attending, including current and former cabinet secretaries, law enforcement officials, and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Napolitano announced in June she would leave her current position this month. She's now preparing to start her next gig as president of the University of California system.

As President Barack Obama was choosing Supreme Court nominees in 2009 and 2010, Napolitano's name was floated as a potential contender to replace retiring Justice David Souter and Justice John Paul Stevens. He ultimately tapped Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, respectively, for the nominations.

Napolitano, 55, has a law degree but has never been a judge. A former Democratic governor of Arizona, Napolitano was also a onetime U.S. attorney and state attorney general.

While in private practice, she was a lawyer for Anita Hill when she testified in the 1991 Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings for the high court.

During her tenure as homeland security secretary, she was criticized strongly for her department's initial response -- and her public statements -- to the Christmas 2009 attempted terror bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 80, is the current court member most frequently mentioned as the next to step down, but she has voiced her intention to stay on as long as possible.

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