Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Obama's Pick

“I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book. It is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives -- whether they can make a living and care for their families; whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.” - President Obama, May 1, 2009

President Obama personally announced Justice David Souter’s imminent retirement from the Supreme Court on Friday from the White House briefing room. Though Souter will remain on the bench until Obama is ready with a nomination to replace him, the President is likely to field a nominee by July, in hopes of winning confirmation for his justice by the time the court’s next term begins in October.

Speculation abounds about who will receive the President’s nomination. Most pundits agree that it will be a woman, since there is currently only one female justice on the nation’s highest court. Because Obama was a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago before entering national politics, he has a keen sense of what qualities he seeks in his appointee. Of course, the constitution requires that the Senate confirm his nomination.

Teaching Current Events with the Constitution:

Teachers should ask students to examine the make-up of the Senate and consider how the role of political party might affect confirmation of Obama’s nominee. Specifically, two political events are likely to alter the senatorial landscape: Arlen Specter’s party switch and the outcome of the senate race in Minnesota. What effect is the balance of Republican to Democratic senators likely to have on the process?

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