Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Supremes

Sometimes I get over-loaded with the flotsam and super-saturated with the jetsam that comes floating down through the airwaves in a most erratic manor. To try and figure out what the heck is going on with this Sonia Sotomayor appointment I had to put on my hat of "interpreter of all things nonsensical". First I went to the U.S. Constitution and right there in black and white were some answers.

Article II gives the President power to nominate Justices, who are then appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Constitution does not set any qualifications for service as a Justice, so the President may nominate anyone to serve, even me. But the nominee must receive the confirmation of the Senate, which means that the Senate must find that person to be a suitable candidate for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land.

The Constitution does not specify how many Justices are on the Supreme Court, however the Judiciary Act of 1789 allowed for the appointment of six Justices, in 1807 the number was change to seven, and in 1837 the number was change to nine and again in 1863 the number was increase to ten. Finally the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866 provided that the next three retirees from the Court would not be replaced, taking the number back down to seven. This natural attrition never came to fruition, for in 1869 the Judiciary Act again changed the number of Justices back to nine, where it has since remained.

Currently the Justices that sit on the Court come from the following Presidential nominations: President Clinton (2): Justices Ginsburg and Breyer, President Reagan (2): Justices Scalia and Kennedy, President Ford(1): Justice Stevens. The Bush Family has four nominees on the court; President GHW Bush (2): Justices Souter and Thomas, and President GW Bush (2): Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts.

Certainly Republican Presidents have the lead with seven of the nine judicial appointments. Now with the coming retirement of Justice Souter, a GHW Bush nominee and replacement to come from President Obama, this becomes serious stuff. Especially with Sonia Sotomayor, that would put another woman on the court, bringing the total to TWO of nine justices of the female persuasion, and increasing the nominations from Democratic Presidents to THREE of the nine justices.

Now I get it! Whew, for minute there I thought it was all about reverse-racism.

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