WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) — President Barack Obama on Wednesday said he’s looking to nominate a Supreme Court justice with “impeccable credentials” and “an understanding of the way the world really works.”
In a post on the popular Supreme Court website SCOTUSblog, Obama said he would fulfill his constitutional power to appoint judges to the court. He outlined the qualities he considers in a candidate amid continued controversy surrounding the vacancy left by late Justice Antonin Scalia.
“It’s a duty that I take seriously, and one that I will fulfill in the weeks ahead. It’s also one of the most important decisions that a president will make. Rulings handed down by the Supreme Court directly affect our economy, our security, our rights and our daily lives,” Obama wrote.
“Needless to say, this isn’t something I take lightly. It’s a decision to which I devote considerable time, deep reflection, careful deliberation, and serious consultation with legal experts, members of both political parties, and people across the political spectrum.”
Obama then offered some “some spoiler-free insights” into the qualities he’s searching for in the person he will nominate as the next Supreme Court justice.
“First and foremost, the person I appoint will be eminently qualified,” Obama writes, adding that he or she must have an excellent record, integrity, an independent mind, rigorous intellect and impeccable credentials.
“I’m looking for a mastery of the law, with an ability to hone in on the key issues before the court, and provide clear answers to complex legal questions,” Obama writes.
Obama said that he also looks for someone who understands the limits of the role of the judiciary branch, as one which interprets the law and not makes laws — part of the constitutional system of checks and balances.
“I seek judges who approach decisions without any particular ideology or agenda, but rather a commitment to impartial justice, a respect for precedent, and a determination to faithfully apply the law to the facts at hand,” Obama writes.
The president then says he is aware of times when the law is ambiguous — times when justices must use his or her own perspective, ethics, and judgment — so he said he looks for a candidate that has “a keen understanding that justice is not about abstract legal theory, nor some footnote in a dusty casebook.
“A sterling record. A deep respect for the judiciary’s role. An understanding of the way the world really works. That’s what I’m considering as I fulfill my constitutional duty to appoint a judge to our highest court,” Obama adds.