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Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Don't Be Too Cautious

President Obama, Since I share your generally liberal views, let me offer some advice about your selection of a nominee for the Court. This is the appointment of yours that is likely to have the longest term impact, so please be sure to select someone who is young, healthy, of steady and sound temperament. Reflecting your own predilections, the candidate should have a judicial philosophy but also be pragmatic, and should display empathy for those individuals and situations that may be remote from his or her personal experience.

Perhaps one can admire Justice Scalia for his clarity but not for his doctrinaire attitude nor for his flamboyant personality. In terms of having a philosophy and lacking a showboat persona, Justice Breyer is a much better model. Justice Ginsberg stands out for the clarity of her decisions. We don't know about how individual justices operate behind the scenes, but if Justice O'Connor was capable of persuading others, the way that Chief Justice Warren was, then her example is worth following as well.

Barring a disaster, your choice will be easily confirmed, and so don't be too cautious. Good luck!

By Howard Gardner

 |  May 18, 2009; 3:59 PM ET
Category:  Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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