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The next president may get to nominate several candidates for the Supreme Court. Here are the ages of some of our current Justices:
John Paul Stevens is 87. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 74. Anthony Kennedy is 71. Antonin Scalia is 71. Stephen Breyer is 69. David Souter is 68.
Supreme Court appointments are not supposed to be partisan affairs. I know that sounds pretty naive given the combative nature of the Court nominations these days, but they really aren't. We aren't supposed to be looking for judges who are liberals or conservatives. We are supposed to be looking for judges who will apply the law as written. In fact, if we get Supreme Court justices who do anything other than that, who put their own ideology into their rulings, we have big problems, because that subverts our democratic process. It subverts the will of the people, the Congress, and the president. It nullifies the separation of powers, because the Supremes are not answerable to the people. We can't vote them out of power. They are appointed for life. They are the final word, short of amending the Constitution. To paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, 'when the Supreme Court says it, it's pretty much like God said it'. For once I agree with Nancy.
And we should be pretty careful about the Gods we pick.
There have been nominees who were rightly rejected because they were not good picks, like Harriet Miers (why Miers, when Brownie was available ?!?!), and others who were rejected because they didn't fit the correct partisan profile, like Robert Bork. The former is good. The latter is bad. Excessive politicization is harmful here.
When you hear politicians advocating for judges who are strict contstructionists (like Romney does), you have politicians who are on the right track, because those judges will uphold the constitution as written. When you hear politicians advocating for judges who hold specific positions on specific issues (like Hillary does), you have politicians who are definitely on the wrong track, because we don't want judicial partisans or activists. That is not the role of the Supreme Court. That should be left to the other branches of government. There's a good reason justice is supposed to be blind.
As an example, look at the poster boy for all judicial activist decisions, Roe v Wade. Regardless of one's views on abortion, due to the original judicial activism displayed by the Supreme Court in that case, where the constitutional right to abortion was magically and incorrectly created out of thin air, the issue of abortion has become a litmus test for all future Supreme Court judges. It has led to a politicization of the Court where there should be none. What the Roe v Wade decision did was overrule all state law regarding abortion. In effect, Roe legalized abortion through the back door, by making anti-abortion laws unconstitutional. It trumped the will of the people. That ain't supposed to be how it works.
In summary, we want Supreme Court judges who will outlaw moveon.org and mandate a balanced budget....................Gotcha ! Just wanted to see if you were paying attention.