May 2nd, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Dear President Obama #103: Courting History

Reporter's Note: Every day I sit down to write a letter to President Obama, offering him my thoughts and suggestions. In turn, he sometimes gets a brief, faraway look in his eyes when he is making a speech and I think, “Hmmm. I wonder if he’s thinking of something I said.”

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Forget about the economy, the military, health care, foreign affairs, or the NBA playoffs. Now you have something on your hands that requires real attention. It’s time to pick a new Supreme Court Justice. Wow! For all the exciting Presidential things you get to do, that’s got to be one of the best. I mean, obviously, aside from having traffic stopped for six blocks in all directions by Secret Service every time you want to go grab a burger; because I’m sure that’s pretty happening too.

Picking a player to fit into the SUPCO roster is big league, and I just know I would not be any good at it. First, I’d have a terrible urge to get funny, and people take this so seriously I’m sure they would fail to see the humor in my selection of Emeril. “Bam! We’re going to kick these rulings up a notch! In my opinion, you’re guilty of not enough flavor!”

Second, and more seriously, I don’t know whom I would trust enough to give him/her the job. My family, for example, has some great folks in it, but it would just be ethically wrong to give any relative the job, considering how many dealings we’ve had with the parole board. My friends? I’ve got some great ones, but none who would take the position even on a dare. Well, maybe Kevin would. But he’d get so goofy on the bench he’d make Emeril look like Scalia.

The mere fact that I have absolutely no business making such a choice however does not inhibit me from advising you on what to do. (BTW: This is very similar to my view of professional sports.)

Pick someone who inspires your faith in his or her intelligence, values, and decency.

Pick someone you respect even when you disagree with that person; so much that you’ll even consider the possibility that he/she is right and you are wrong.

Pick someone who does not care about politics.

Pick someone who reads a lot, and reads history in particular.

Pick someone with a good sense of humor.

Don’t pick me. I’m sure you are considering it, and I’m flattered, but trust me it would end badly for both of us.

That’s it, And frankly as I reread it, that’s not a bad list of qualities to seek in any person for any job. But of course you’ll be the judge of that. Ha!

Enjoy the weekend. Call if you get a moment. The in-laws are in town, so you know I can use the break.



Find more Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Terry, TX

    Good points...may I add someone who is best qualified for the job... regardless of race or gender....someone who will interpret the Constitution...and not manipulate the Constitution...to interpret equal protection under the law....not just for the preferred select group. Just a thought.

    May 4, 2009 at 8:37 am |

    I think that the President is doing a great job! It took Bush and his croonies 8 yrs to make this mess so Obama should be given all the blessings he needs to get us out. I was so proud of him at the summit and the way he was making friends with other countries, this hasn't been done for soooo long! I would be so embarrassed when Bush would try and talk at people of other countries never listening to them just telling them what he is going to do. It's good to have someone that has some intellagence now, I really have enjoyed his press time, he answers the questions, he is informed he just sounds like he has a brain as the other guy never did!

    May 2, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  3. Adriana RM Marietta,Ga

    Nice one !

    May 2, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  4. Scott

    I like how "he economy, the military, health care, foreign affairs" do not require real attention. Would attention to those things be feigned attention? I do agree with you about not picking someone that does not care about politics. Legislating from the bench and is wrong. Pick someone who will only interpret the Constitution.

    May 2, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  5. AnnForTruth

    Excellent letter and funny too Tom. I enjoyed reading it... and yes the lists of qualities to seek any person to fill a position is absolutely ones potential employees should possess. I'm sure the President appreciates the letter should he stumble up on it and read....

    May 2, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  6. Maria

    Dear Tom,
    I general, positive pplz do not think in the past, they think in present and future, courting history worth if someone has the gut to follow up, but I don't think many pplz realy have that gut, it is not dishonoring the justice, we know mother of justice is blind, it is just believe on justice can take its place outside the court room, the least we can do, is to promote morals and values to the next generations to come and to fix current justice system to honor justice. If somebody never follow a case of history, not necessarily he/she agree of what happen, but deep believe is it court room is the way of justice, you know judges are human being too, so history dead, but if you are beliver, unblid justice will come from above, JESUS promote us to forgive, and forgiving is not a sign of weakness, nor accepting the wrong values, but to keep life going and future will reward the best.
    I think what person should always focus on is present and future, past is history and we are no longer live in history, despite the pain, life will go on, however, devils might escape it in the past, but they will fail it in the future, by way or another, and I think they are failing.
    Tom, the weather is so nice this weekened, I wish you and yours and your in-laws a lovely weekend,

    May 2, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  7. Karen

    You make my day – Everyday!!

    May 2, 2009 at 9:36 am |