In an editorial supporting Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination, the Wall Street Journal writes, "He has spent 26 years in public service instead of cashing in as a Beltway lawyer."
Regardless of where you stand on Kavanaugh's nomination, it's a sad day when even the Wall Street Journal is characterizing working for the government as "public service" in favorable juxtaposition with working for the private-sector economy. Who is performing a greater public service, really? Government lawyers? Or lawyers representing private individuals and companies who are creating jobs and wealth and often defending against excessive regulations or overreaching prosecutors?
It would be refreshing, actually, if some president were to nominate a corporate general counsel or a partner in a large law firm to the Supreme Court. It might add some useful perspective that is currently lacking.
In fairness to the Journal, plenty of "Beltway lawyers" do earn a living tailoring laws to benefit their clients, or monetizing their relationships from their prior government work. Such lawyering, while potentially lucrative, isn't necessarily the finest example of free market ideals in action. Even so, I can certainly imagine plenty of judicial nominees who might be accused of having cashed in and whose practical perspective having worked for businesses would nonetheless be preferable to a nominee who had spent his or her entire career in a succession of government jobs.