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July 13th, 2009
08:35 AM ET

Dear President Obama #175: Ready, set ... judge

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama wants advice. He’s asked for it. So don’t blame me for writing a letter a day to the White House. I’m just doing my job.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

After weeks of waiting and revving the engines, your Supreme Court nominee is finally ready to belly up to the confirmation bar. Fun times, eh? Used to be that the confirmation of a Supreme Court nominee was as dry as a field of wheat. A few dusty old lawmakers would roll some arcane questions toward the chosen one, who would gently bat them back with a smile and great deference; the vote would be taken; confirmation completed; high fives all around and everyone would go take a nap.

Now, just the whisper of an opening on the Court has folks breaking out the boxing gloves and torches.

More and more we’ve turned into a society where it feels like every dispute winds up in front of a judge. People walk on eggshells afraid of a lawsuit, and consequently there is much more interest in knowing just what all the Supreme authorities on the law are going to say…even before they get the chance to say it.

The courts have certainly answered the prayers of a wide variety of smaller groups that have often felt that elected government alone is not serving their needs very well. But at the same time, plenty of other Americans feel like the courts have undermined the power of their votes. Lose at the ballot box? Just hire some expensive lawyers and take what you want.

That’s the real source of heat here. Sonia Sotomayor is certainly qualified for the post compared to others who have donned the black robes , and her past opinions have not caused people to hide their dogs or run screaming through the streets. But Supreme Court confirmations have turned into a testing ground; not only for what a new Justice might actually do, but also for how much power that person thinks the Court should have.

So good luck as it all begins; call if you wish. I’m around. And you thought the 4th of July had fireworks…ha!

Regards,

Tom

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Diversity?

    All this talk about "diversity". I sure wish I knew what was "diverse" about Satomayor. Look at the biographies and of the sitting justices and her background really isn't any different. How many came from Harvard, Stanford, and Yale? There's a very small pool of schools represented and her nomination makes her far from "diverse". Of course, the assumption being diversity means experience and education as it applies to rulings and not just gender or race.

    July 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  2. RLWellman

    This is just what Americans need. A Latino judge who will discriminate against caucasion Americans every chance she can get. What ever happened to "Justice is Blind"?

    Don't make me sick to my stomach by saying in a perfect world either. This is just the kind of judge we need, who uses reverse- discrimination!

    July 13, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  3. All I Know

    All I know is when you're in the majority and feel you deserve/show special treatment/preference/consideration it's racism. When you do so as a minority, it's called "diversity".

    July 13, 2009 at 10:01 am |
  4. Hmm

    What scares me is gender and race have become such a huge issue. As with the current President, people seem to expect that they will rule/lead in a manner that promotes their personal causes if they are "one of them". They call for minorities to be appointed because of the lack thereof which overshadows qualifications. I'm not saying she's not qualified, but I still have doubts about her being the MOST qualified.
    I do know this. If a white male just was nominated who had recently said a test should be thrown out because no whites passed it, his name would have been withdrawn immediately. Oddly enough Sharpton, Jackson, and others have been incredibly quiet about the issue. I wish we could take the names off the resumes, place them in front of the President, and have them pick based on the qualifications of each. Sadly, it still comes down to getting votes in future elections and not what's best for the country.

    July 13, 2009 at 9:11 am |