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The issue of choosing a Supreme Court Justice

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  1. Introduction
  2. Constructionist Ideologies
  3. Examining Supreme Court cases over which Rehnquist has presided
  4. Not surprisingly, Rehnquist also provided a similar argument when it came to the violation of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment
  5. However, Senator Orrin Hatch in his examination of the specific duties of Supreme Court justices Hatch made the following argument
  6. Swing Voter Ideologies
  7. Constructionist or Swing Voter


In recent years, the stability of the Supreme Court has been challenged as a direct result of changes in the specific members that comprise the Court. Up until 2006, specific patters of decision-making could clearly be delineated. However, the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and the resignation of Associate Judge Sandra Day O'Connor placed the court in a precarious situation. With both a conservative and a ?swing? judge leaving the system, President Bush faced the challenge of rebuilding the character and stability of the court. The nominees he selected were conservatives, or constructionists, whose principle focus was to uphold the letter of the Constitution. Today, a similar situation faces the President. With one vacancy on the Supreme Court, the President must now select a formidable replacement. Although President Bush was consistent in his decision to appoint only constructionists to the bench, the current President must weight the advantages and disadvantages of appointing either a constructionist or a ?swing? voter to the High Court. The decision made in this case will have notable ramifications for the US, as the country struggles to regain its political and economic influence. Given the gravity of this current situation, there is a clear impetus to examine the benefits and drawbacks of selecting a candidate with either type of background

[...] When framed in this context, it becomes evident that the specific candidate chosen to fill a Supreme Court vacancy can reasonably approach the issue of decision-making in either framework. What this effectively suggests is that the decision to fill a Supreme Court vacancy based on the specific voting nature of the candidate must be predicated upon what is best for the overall development of society. In short, in making a decision about which type of candidate should fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, the president must determine which type of individual would be best suited to meet the needs of individuals in society. [...]

[...] In particular, Justice O'Connor made the following observations: Overruling Roe's central holding would not only reach an unjustifiable result under stare decisis principles, but would seriously weaken the Court's capacity to exercise the judicial power and to function as the Supreme Court of a Nation dedicated to the rule of law. Where the Court acts to resolve the sort of unique, intensely divisive controversy reflected in Roe, its decision has a dimension not present in normal cases, and is entitled to rare precedential force to counter the inevitable efforts to overturn it and to thwart its implementation. [...]

[...] Only by selecting a candidate of this nature will the president be able to ensure that decisions made by the Supreme Court will clearly reflect the development that has occurred in society in recent years. Although predicting the behavior of the swing voter maybe difficult at times, if the United States is to continue its forward development, consideration of issues that ultimately fall outside of the Constitution will be necessary. Conclusion At the present time, United States faces a number of formidable challenges when it comes to its social, economic and political development. [...]

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