Monday, April 12, 2010

Nothing "indelicate" about it:

Josh Marshall:
An Indelicate Question

Here's a question I'd like to hear people's answer to. We're hearing a lot of names tossed out as Supreme Court nominee possibilities. But here's a question my mind keeps turning back to. How old should a Supreme Court nominee be? Not for their ability to do the job necessarily but, given the governance stakes involved, for their ability to do it well for a long period of time?

We all know that life is unpredictable. Someone in their forties can be befallen by terrible illness and someone like Justice Stevens can keep on going alert and in apparent good health on the verge of 90. But given the odds, does it make sense for the president to put someone on the Court who is already 60 or over? Scalia was 50 when he joined the court in 1986. Thomas was a mere 43. Alito was a comparative old 56.
Because of the increasing tendency of Republican presidents to nominate young justices, along with life tenure on the court, it means that Democratic presidents should do the same - until the Constitution is amended to prevent this sort of lifespan-lottery that determines the character of the Supreme Court.


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