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. [...]
[...] Although Rehnquist's decision in the Roe case may lead one to believe that the boundaries of the Constitution would not allow a Supreme Court Justice to rule in favor of any case that appears to stand outside of the Constitution, subsequent decisions made by Rehnquist and the Court demonstrate that the basic principles of the Constitution, under which strict constructionists make their judgments, still come before the Supreme Court. To illustrate this point, one only needs to consider the Supreme Court case of the Nevada Department of Human Resources v. [...]
[...] However, Senator Orrin Hatch in his examination of the specific duties of Supreme Court justices Hatch made the following argument: “judges must understand their role in our constitutional system as impartial magistrates, not Monday-morning legislators” (Hatch, 1998). In this context, Hatch contends that the specific decisions that have had downed by Rehnquist and other constructionists on the Supreme Court has upheld this basic duty of the High Court. With this effectively suggests about the specific decisions that will be made by the constructionist candidate is that regardless of the political, economic or social implications of the issue be decided in a particular case the final outcome will be a direct reflection of how the Founding Father would have adjudicated the case to the same legal framework. [...]
[...] While it is evident that there are some issues that are difficult to adjudicate in this manner, as Rehnquist definitively demonstrates in his rulings, the basic context of judicial issues which are addressed by the Supreme Court are commensurate with those issues discussed in the Constitution. With this effectively suggests is that it is possible to garner relevant and timely meaning from the basic context of the Constitution and its historical development. In the same manner that strict constructionists have been viewed as thought conservatives unable to address modern issues in the framework of the Constitution, swing voters such as Sandra Day O'Connor have, at times, been labeled as progressive liberals. [...]
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