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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 16, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Sotomayor hearings: What do we really want in a justice?

Avoiding the political circus of court nominations

Here we go again with another political circus over a Supreme Court nominee. As a concerned citizen, I am tuning out, albeit I am ashamed to admit it.

After confirmation, we want a totally impartial and nonpolitical judge who will adjudicate each case on its individual merits. Yet on the confirmation side, the process of vetting and interrogating candidates is one of the most politically charged things we do — as no one who feels strongly about any issue seems to want a judge confirmed who would potentially ever rule against their cherished beliefs.

Most of us seem to want a court that will be content to interpret whether laws passed by Congress meet a constitutionality test. Yet most of us seem to want a right of privacy with an adjunct right to abortion, both of which were created out of Supreme Court decisions not based on legislation passed by Congress.

Do we really, really know what we really, really want — to shamelessly paraphrase an old Spice Girls lyric?

— Tom Wingard-Phillips, Seattle

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