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Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis is University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business at the University of Southern California. His newest book is 'Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.'

National Consequences

First, some background and qualities should be taken into account in choosing a new Supreme Court justice: a youngish woman; has served in political office; is persuasive and will become one of the leaders of the Court; and finally, someone who will virtually on arrival enter the court with a strong, successful track record that will endow her with instant credibility.

Second, as if it needed to be said, a good jurist is one who is known for good judgment. To that extent, someone who resembles a Justice O'Connor or Souter would be a good choice. Essentially this means justices who can take into account both the ethic of principle and the the ethic of consequence, such as Justices Kennedy or O'Connor, who displayed that flexibility on the important Michigan affirmative action case. In that seminal decision, both took into account the national consequences of the decision, unlike the "originalists," who tend to view the Constitution as Scripture rather than as a living, breathing document that reflect basic changes in our society that our founding fathers had in mind.

By Warren Bennis

 |  May 18, 2009; 3:31 PM ET
Category:  Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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