Following the retirement announcement by Justice John Paul Stevens today, it is now up to the United States Senate to ensure that the successor justice will be a responsible jurist who will remain faithful to the Constitution.
Never has it been more important in our nation’s history that the next Supreme Court justice be a person with a proven commitment to the original meaning of the Constitution and laws as they are written. Many laws being passed and issues being raised in Washington will likely require judicial scrutiny in the coming years. It is critical that the life-tenured justices who will decide these cases will not bend the law to favor a political ideology or personally held belief, but rather interpret our framework as it is written.
Senators should live up to their responsibility by asking tough questions to be sure that the nominee is committed to the Constitution. They should be given the time for careful deliberation, and not be pressured by arbitrary timelines. Americans do not want a Supreme Court Justice who views the Constitution as an “evolving document,” applies empathy standards to their cases or who substitutes transnationalist jurisprudence for the requirements of the Constitution.
The President’s statements on the role of the court, including today when he said he sought a nominee with “a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people,” demand that his nominees receive thoughtful scrutiny, and that the nominee’s view of his or her role be distinctly expressed. Our system of justice and the American people require no less.