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Independence matters more than labels

May 10, 2009|By LLOYD "PETE" WATERS

Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter has had enough of the inner workings of the Beltway, and has decided to retire to his simple and undistinguished home in New Hampshire where he is just one of the regular guys, according to his neighbors.

Souter came to the Supreme Court when George H. W. Bush nominated him at the urging of his conservative friend, Sen. Warren Rudman.

Justice Souter, during his court service, actually has displayed an "independent" side that was more based on logic then political or special-interest affiliation. For the most part, I believe history will record his court record and service in an honorable manner.

Now comes the moment when President Obama has the opportunity to make one of the most important decisions of his administration. Who will be his nominee to replace Justice Souter?

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During his campaign, he suggested that the next Supreme Court justice does not need to come from the judicial ranks. I suppose that means his appointment could come from the political ranks.

Some groups have already begun campaigning for the next Supreme Court appointment.

Kim Gandy, the president of the National Organization for Women, is urging the president to nominate a woman to this vacant seat.

Just look how well O'Connor and Ginsburg have done on the court is the logic offered.

Another large voting bloc is hoping that President Obama will look for the first Hispanic nominee to serve on the Supreme Court.

Clarence Thomas represents the only African American on the Supreme Court and it will be interesting to see if race will become a consideration for President Obama.

Will political ideologies became a major ingredient to the decision-making process?

Is the person liberal enough to satisfy the political majority currently in the House and Senate? How will the person interpret the Constitution? What is their position on past controversial court decisions?

Every special interest group will loudly and categorically support its "special" interest candidate until the sun sets in the west.

Few will argue for the best and the brightest unless the nominee conveniently fits some other criteria to include liberal, conservative, Hispanic, female, African American, abortion views, etc.

Some of these same special interest groups will tell you that for too long they have been ignored by the good-ole-boy system that has promoted white male candidates for years and years.

This discrimination was intolerable and should not have been condoned throughout the history of the United States. No discrimination can be justified, can it?

Yep, those special interest groups make perfect sense to me, and their reasoning is completely logical and each will make a formidable presentation to the president as a way to influence his decision making.

No way should discrimination be tolerated, they will yell, unless it lands at the feet of another group - and then it's not so bad, some might silently reason.

As for me, I am not betting on any "white guy" to be the next nominee. The odds of this happening, from my humble perspective, would be greater than those of Mine That Bird.

This probably has nothing to do with any sort of discrimination, does it? Just a little political maneuvering, one might conclude.

At the end of the day, I am hoping that the next Supreme Court justice, like Justice Souter, possesses the real "wisdom" and "independence" to do the right thing regardless of special interest agendas.

Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a resident of Sharpsburg.

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