Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Responsibility of a Supreme Court Appointment

Obama’s great opportunity to serve well the Constitution of the United States.
by Charlie Leck

John Paul Stevens has served on the U.S. Supreme Court longer than any of the other current justices. He took his seat on the bench in 1975. He will be 90 years old this year. He was appointed by Republican President, Gerald Ford. In 2005, former President Ford had high words of praise for Stevens: “He is serving his nation well, with dignity, intellect and without partisan political concerns.”

When the current term of the U.S. Supreme Court comes to an end in late June of this year, Stevens will officially retire from the bench.

I personally admire Stevens and applaud his service to his nation. We need more people like him, with his character and open-mindedness, to serve the nation in its highest offices – on the bench, in the national legislature and in the office of President.

The glaring and nearly unanswerable question in our current political environment is this: How do we cut through the rhetoric and paralyzing partisanship to find such people?

I hope President Obama is struggling with this question as he prepares to present a nomination to Congress to take the current seat of Justice Stevens. Is it too much to hope that both sides of the aisle in America’s Congress are also struggling with this question?

We don’t need another liberal justice; nor do we need a conservative. We need someone with a brilliant and open mind who will interpret our constitution fairly and equally for all.

The balanced, fair-minded people, who make up the great center of political thought in the United States, are pleading for such an appointment.

In the NY Times, this morning, six of the former clerks to Justice John Paul Stevens reflect about the man and their time with him. It is a worthwhile read. [Click here to read the column.]

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