Previous   Next

What characteristics should Bush consider when choosing a new Supreme Court justice?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 2, 2005

Browse the archives

Photo of Curtis Keyes

“Fairness and integrity. Those are the two that are most important.”

Photo of Phillip Reed

“Someone who has a track record of unbiased decisions based on justice. Someone who doesn’t cater to any particular party’s interest.”

Photo of Kistie Patch

“One that’s fair and has a history of judging issues without bias, but I doubt that’s going to happen.”

Photo of Cindi Porterfield

“I would say someone who is conservative and is against abortion.”

Related stories


lunacydetector 12 years, 11 months ago

i think if bush can keep the Democrats from imposing their litmus test, everything will be fine.

in over 200 years, Congress has NEVER fillibustered a judicial nominee. hopefully the Democrats will show a grain of character and allow a nominee a thumbs up or down vote WITHOUT a fillibuster.

with Chappequidick Teddy Kennedy leading the Democratic charge, i fear the Democrats won't have even a grain of integrity to allow an up or down vote. Planned Parenthood has too big of a lobby, which is a shame since they get money from the government. Conflicts of interest abound. They also have to deal with George Soros who wants to pick the next nominees - crazy

beatrice 12 years, 11 months ago

Does it matter what we think? Like his decision to go into Iraq, I'm sure our President already has his mind set on who he will select before he gets all the facts. I suspect this person is someone to the far, far right. My fear is that he will pick someone who talks about impartiality, but will almost certainly be against a woman's right to choose, will be pro death penalty, pro guns, pro big business, and will think a cloth with stripes and stars is more important than actual freedom. And of course, it will be someone who is strongly against gay rights. Remember, our President doesn't just pander to the religious right, he is the religious right. Non-Christians beware.

If things keep going the way they have been, the only real difference between America and the Taliban will be the head wear. (Yes, I exaggerate ... or do I????)

orchid 12 years, 11 months ago

Actually, the Republicans used the first filibuster against a judicial nominee during LBJ's presidency. He had to withdraw a nomination of an associate justice to be a chief justice in the Supreme Court as a result. And, over 50 of Clinton's nominees didn't receive a vote on the Senate floor, or even a hearing with the Judiciary committee. It was called the "blue-slip." When it comes down to it, both political parties have used filibustering. Hopefully, the Republicans can have a "grain of integrity," and will not ban filibusters. Bill Frist didn't seem to have a problem voting to sustain a filibuster in 2000 of a Clinton judicial nominee. Remember, the courts are supposed to be independent--this isn't a tyranny. Or, is it?

sunflower_sue 12 years, 11 months ago

simple_simon, I had a long, difficult night. And you just made my day! Thank you! Reading that has made my outlook on today much brighter and I'm going to just stop reading here 'cause it ain't gonna get any better 'n that! Now that's funny...I don't care who you are!

simple_simon 12 years, 11 months ago

Characterisics?? You mean like physical characteristics? That category of characteristics?

Okay, well, let's see......if it's a white male, then he should be in his mid-to-late 50's, with gray hair and a serious/rugged look about him. Kind of like the late actor Jason Robards when he starred in All The Presidents Men back in 1976.

And if it's a white female, then she should have a distinguished silver-haired look about her. And a look of confidence about her that any career woman still needs to possess nowadays in what many people will agree is still a man's world. She should look kind of like Governor Sebelius...only with a fuller-looking face. Actress Tyne Daly from the TV show Judging Amy comes to mind.

And if its an African-American male....well, that's a no-brainer! Two words: Denzel Washington!! He's got to look like Denzel Washington! Denzel's the man! He's a tough, good-looking, no-nonsense kind of African-American male--and that's just what the Supreme Court needs right now!! Besides, Clarence Thomas always has a shifty-eyed look about him, and he appears to sweat a lot and I don't like looking at (nor do I trust) men who sweat a lot in front of the camera. You know, Nixon used to sweat a lot in front of the camera too!

And if it's an African-American female........I think she should have a pleasant look and way about her---and a pleasantly-plump shape about her too. Kind of like the late actress Isabel Sanford who is best remembered for playing Louise "Weezie" Jefferson, first on All In The Family from 1971-1975, and then on The Jeffersons from 1975-1985.

So there you have it! Those are the "characteristics" that I think "Dubya" should be looking for when he goes about choosing the next Supreme Court justice.

enochville 12 years, 11 months ago

In the last presidential election I had serious reservations about both candidates, however, looking at the bright side, I knew that I would partially win no matter who was elected. I voted for Kerry, but the way I thought I'd win if Bush was re-elected was in the Supreme Court nomination(s) that we expected would happen in the next four years.

There were a couple of people above who wanted an unbiased judge. I hate to break it to them, but it is impossible to be an unbiased judge or unbiased person for that matter. The people to really fear are those people who don't think they are biased. The characteristics I would hope for in a nominee is a person who thinks like me. I think that would be the case for most people. I hope Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

I have listed my values before: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Each must be considered and none of these values ALWAYS trumps the others. I believe the purpose of government is to: "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". I would like Bush to nominate someone who feels the same way.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 11 months ago

Fairness, practical, moderate politics, real republican, real christian, pro-choice, supports public education, demand accountibility at the polls...these are not synonymous with GW Bush or Karl Rove.

Of course Rove may end up in jail. Unless of course his lover GW pardons the man.

DaREEKKU 12 years, 11 months ago

I don't think Bush should get to choose anybody since he has the mental capacity of a slug. Even that is pushing it.

Liberty 12 years, 11 months ago

President Bush should select a justice that will support the Constitution before the 1868 taxing act and reconstruction.

Liberty 12 years, 11 months ago

Here is a link that will teach you about what happened to the states after the 'civil war' or war of federal aggression. This is how the Republic of North Carolina has been reestablished after being dormant and left for dead. Very interesting material. May help with your opinion on the selection of the next supreme court justice.

The web site is:

Be sure to read the documents on the web site...

David Ryan 12 years, 11 months ago

Nice to see the judicial extremists come out of the woodwork, the better to understand that extremism in the light of day.

Not only that:

"I hate to break it to them, but it is impossible to be an unbiased judge or unbiased person for that matter."

That's the best description of the thinking underlying "moral relativity" -- which "conservatives" love to hate -- that I've heard. For if no one is un-biased, there is no such thing as objectivity. And if there's no such thing as objectivity, there can be no single objective moral viewpoint against which to judge anything. It really is, then, a world in which your own private subjective morality has no objective standing over anyone else's.

I reject such decadent relativism.

Bush won't, but should, appoint a judge who demonstrates an understanding of the judiciary's role in our governmental system: as a check on the legislative and executive branches, and as expounder of what laws mean in particular cases.

(And, for those who might consider "liberty"'s post to have merit: no matter how much pro-slavery defenders of the Confederacy try to tell you differently, the South attacked the Union both in fact, at Fort Sumter, and in deed, by trying to destroy the Union by secceding. "the war of federal aggression" = "human slavery in America was fine.")

Fangorn 12 years, 11 months ago

Someone who's actually bothered to read the bloody Constitution would be good.

Orchid: The filibuster Abe Fortas was bipartisan. Twenty-four Republicans were joined by nineteen Democrats in blocking his elevation to Chief "Justice". These 43 Senators made a good choice. A year later, Fortas was forced to resign due to some pretty severe ethics issues.

papa_smurf 12 years, 10 months ago

Bush was asked if he would consider choosing a non-judge for the job, he said he would consider it. Isn't that a little bit scarey hearing a sitting president would even consider a non-judge as a supreme court justice? Its like having Homer Simpson fly the space shuttle!

Commenting has been disabled for this item.