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Slade Gorton
Political leader

Slade Gorton

A former U.S. Senator and Washington State Attorney General, Slade Gorton served on the 9/11 Commission.

A poor choice

Q: In appointing a new Supreme Court Justice to replace John Paul Stevens, President Obama was seeking someone who could provide intellectual and personal leadership of the liberal block. His gamble in nominating Elena Kagan is bringing in someone from outside the 'priesthood' of appeals-court judges. What are the advantages and disadvantages of selecting a leader with non-traditional qualifications?

Picking someone without judicial experience was a wise move on the president's part because contemporary experience in the real world is a vitally important qualification for a Supreme Court justice. The court's world is so divorced from reality that its members become frozen as of the date on which they ascend to its august precincts.

The problem with the Kagan nomination is that she will not be moving from the real world, but will simply reinforce a group already overwhelmingly composed of those from a single academic background that has given them not the slightest inkling of how the vast majority of Americans think and live. Nor has a single one of them ever run for office and thus had to concern himself or herself with what citizens think about public affairs. For those reasons alone it is a poor nomination.

By Slade Gorton

 |  May 10, 2010; 2:56 PM ET
Category:  Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I find it more than a little dismaying that so many of the justices went to Harvard. Yes, it's a good school. But the Harvard point of view is not the only point of view in the legal world.

Posted by: padre1957 | May 21, 2010 3:48 PM
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One of the values of the court system is that members are not tied to the issues of the day.
The fact that members become "frozen as of the date on which they ascend to its august precincts" is important to upholding the Constitution.

Posted by: MHawke | May 11, 2010 2:56 PM
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Most citizens don't really think, they react. And, by the way, what is reality? And running for public office provides a sensitivity to the "real" world? Pheww! When is the last time that happened?

Posted by: elwoll | May 11, 2010 11:00 AM
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