Who will replace Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens who on April 9, 2010 announced his coming retirement? Stevens’s decision to retire and possible replacements for him are discussed in numerous articles online including the ones linked to here, as well as here, here, and also here, and here.
Personally, I hope President Obama will appoint a moderate to replace Justice Stevens. The court has become somewhat polarized between four generally conservative justices, four liberals, and one perhaps moderate-liberal (Sonia Sotomayor, whose views are still being determined as she was only recently appointed by President Barack Obama).
A diverse Supreme Court that seeks to thoughtfully consider the issues and make the right decisions is best in my opinion.
A compassionate, intelligent person with personal integrity, a willingness to study and listen to various views, and dogged determination to courageously stand up for what he or she considers important principles are characteristics I seek.
There are few qualifications to be a Supreme Court Justice. Even a law degree is not mandatory. And I think that is good. A few of my friends who graduated from law school stated that such schooling in some ways disillusioned them -- what they endured made it almost impossible to retain their integrity during the process. Perhaps having one Supreme Court Justice who has not gone through law school might offer beneficial diversity and a common sense touch to the Supreme Court.
In fact, if President Obama cannot find a better qualified person, I am willing to consider the position myself. However I must admit that in addition to lacking a law degree, I lack any experience as a lawyer or judge, and I might prefer freelance writing to being in such a position of responsibility that involves making important decisions on a huge variety of issues. I haven’t formally applied, and I hope he finds a better person.
Perhaps it is worth remembering that Justice Stevens was appointed by a Republican President (Gerald R. Ford) and was a Republican himself when appointed. However, Stevens has generally been considered a liberal, and I don’t know if he is still a Republican. Maybe Obama will also appoint a person whose views do not reflect those of his party.
At any rate, due to the current relative evenness on the court, Obama’s appointment can potentially have a great deal of influence. I hope the President makes the right decision.