04.21.10

Comment Following A Bipartisan Meeting With President Obama About The Supreme Court

President Obama continues his practice of reaching across the aisle to select qualified judicial nominees, and his approach to making nominations to the Supreme Court is no different.  I appreciate that he again invited the Republican Senate leader and the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, as well as the Majority Leader and me, to the White House for this consultation meeting.

This President has taken seriously the advice and consent role of the United States Senate in appointing judges to the federal judiciary.  I hope that all Senators will resist hasty reactions driven by the special interests on either the right or the left.  I hope that each Senator will instead fulfill his or her constitutional responsibility to fairly consider and evaluate the nominee.

President Obama is approaching this process responsibly and methodically.  I have told President Obama that I would like to see a nominee with proven qualifications and an understanding of constitutional law.  Americans want and deserve a Justice who will make decisions based on the law and the Constitution, not politics or an ideological agenda.  A recent pattern has emerged of Supreme Court decisions by a slim, activist, conservative majority.  These opinions have not followed the law, but have overridden congressional intent and misconstrued laws designed to protect the American people, tilting the scales of justice in favor of corporate rights and against the rights of individual citizens. 

When Vermonters ask me what I would like to see in the next Supreme Court nominee, I tell them someone who reflects Justice Stevens’ reverence for the Supreme Court as an institution.  In many of his most historic opinions, Justice Stevens lamented that the Court’s divisive rulings would shake the public’s confidence in it.  I share his concern.  I want a Justice for all Americans.  I know that President Obama does as well.

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