I have been watching the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. As with all other nominations before her, it is a political circus.
It isn't even necessarily about the nominee. It is about who nominated them and what their (the president in power at the time) political views are. Even though the Supreme Court is our third branch of government in a triangle of checks and balances, there is always speculation when the country shifts its leanings to the right or to the left, if the standing president can have a shot at shifting the court with it.
Since the chance to do that only arrives if a justice steps down or dies when a president is in office, there are no guarantees of that prize. Obama got the chance very early in his administration while his support in Congress is still pretty strong.
The nomination will go through because there are enough votes to approve her.
In my opinion, the Supreme Court needs to have justices who have views that lean to the right and some that lean to the left. They need to show that they have a firm knowledge of applying existing laws despite their leanings.
When you get a group of individuals together like that who are tasked with taking a hard look at the issues that sometimes confuse and divide our country, then good legal precedence can come out of the process. Isn't that what our fore fathers envisioned?
I doubt they wanted to have a system that could be so stacked with one political, religious or moral view that the laws could be written that don't truly look at any view point but one.
When there has been rulings that I have a strong interest in, I want to understand why the courts rule as they do. Not only do I read the opinions of the majority, but I am interested in the opinions of those justices that disagree with the majority opinion.
If the issue is one that I agree with the ruling, reading the dissenting opinion makes me see the opposite side a little clearer. Even in the last ruling that over turned a decision about race and equal opportunity laws written by Sotomayor, the ruling was not unanimous.
So the fact the Democrats get a chance to replace a left leaning judge with another left leaning judge is not a bad thing. Republican presidents have had chances to replace right leaning judges with right leaning judges as well.
I know one thing and that is I would not want to be burdened with the responsibility that goes along with being a judge at any level. Every day they must weigh facts and make decisions that affect people's lives.
To all the judges out there, I know that you are second guessed, swore at and hated. I also know that most of you have people out there whose lives have been helped and protected by the decisions you make. Thanks