In the wake of the sudden death over the weekend of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a variety of candidates are being mentioned as possibilities to fill the vacancy. Among them: appeals court judges, sitting senators, the current attorney general. To that list — and I would put it squarely on top — should be added the name of former justice Sandra Day O’Connor. There are both practical and political arguments for her nomination. Foremost is that she is eminently qualified, having served so ably on the court and continuing at age 85 to actively hear cases in the lower courts. She stepped down from the court in 2006 to care for her ailing, now deceased, husband and would be able to hit the ground running. A centrist, she would drag the court neither to the left nor to the right.

Her nomination would effectively call the bluff of Senate Republicans who childishly have threatened not to consider any choice put forward by President Obama. Indeed, not only would Republicans have to hold a hearing for the first female Supreme Court Justice but they would be hard pressed to come up with a good reason to deny her a seat. The same would go for Democrats. When she was nominated for the court in 1981, President Reagan hailed her as “person for all seasons” — and that’s just what is needed in 2016 with a court — and a nation — so divided.