'This Week' Transcript: Former President Bill Clinton

But I would also not -- I don't expect him to intentionally pick a fight with the Senate, but he can't avoid it. If he finds somebody that he thinks is just the best person, but the most important thing is he needs to be really proud of the people he puts on the court. The two people I put on the court have made me proud. I haven't agreed with every decision they've made. That's not the important thing. The important thing is that you think they're smart and they're competent and they understand the lives of ordinary people. Now one thing I think he should think about is have we gotten -- have we gone too far in this process that assuming only judges can be elected? That somehow you're not qualified if you weren't a judge.

Some of the best justices in the Supreme Court in history have been non-judges, people that – as Hugo Black once famously said, had been sheriffs and county judges, people that have seen how the lofty decisions of the Supreme Court affect the ordinary lives of Americans. You know, I tried to persuade both Senator Mitchell and Governor Cuomo to accept appointments to the court and for different reasons, neither one wanted to do it. I think they would have been fabulous justices. And -- George Mitchell had been a judge, but he was also a senator. I think that -- I hope he'll take a look at somebody who hasn't been a judge.

TAPPER: William Howard Taft, eight years after his presidency, went to the Supreme Court. I've heard some Democrats say why isn't Bill Clinton on any of these short lists? Would you enjoy doing that?

CLINTON: I think I would enjoy it, but I don't think it would be a good idea.


CLINTON: Because I'm already 63-years-old, I hope I live to be 90. I hope I'm just as healthy as Justice Stevens is. But it's not predictable. I'd like to see him put someone in there, late 40s, early 50s, on the court and someone with a lot of energy for the job. And I don't think that'd be a good choice. I also -- I love what I'm doing now and what I'm doing now is something that I'm uniquely qualified to do, whereas there are many people who could be good on the court.

TAPPER: Senator Hatch raised the subject of a different justice Clinton, your wife, do you think she'd be good at that?

CLINTON: Oh, she would be great at it, but – and I think at one point in her life she have might been interested in it. But she's like me, you know, we're kind of doers. We like being out there and doing things, rowing our own boat and making changes we could see happen, and again, I think if she were asked, she would advise the president to appoint someone 10, 15 years younger.

TAPPER: You mentioned financial regulatory reform. One of the things that President Obama is pushing for is regulation of derivatives, and also with a thing called the Volcker rule, he's trying to separate commercial banking interests from investment banking interests. These were things that were the opposite policies of Treasury Secretary Rubin and Summers at that time, do you think in retrospect they gave you bad advice on these issues?

CLINTON: Well, I think on the derivatives – before the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed, it had been breached. There was already a total merger practically of commercial and investment banking, and really the main thing that the Glass-Steagall Act did was to give us some power to regulate it – the repeal.

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