Factors in choosing a Supreme Court Justice

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  • Created on: 20-05-14 11:25
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Political ideology
The President usually appoints judges with the same ideological view as their
own, for example President Obama with Sonia Sotomeyer and Elena Kagan,
both loose constructionists. However, this is not always the case. For example,
Republican Eisenhower appointed Earl Warren, who ended up being one of the
most liberal courts, desegregating schools across America in Brown vs Board of
Party and Personal loyalties
Despite denials of this and the supposed protections, there is still a remarkably
high of Justices appointed to the Supreme Court that are members of the
President's party, about 90% since Roosevelt's time. For example, Elena Kagan
is Democrat and had led the government's defence in Citizens United vs
Federal Election Commission.
Acceptability to the Senate
How they will look to the Senate is important, as the Senate has to confirm the
President's nominations. If the President believes they have a fault that will

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Senate, they will not nominee them. If nominees run into
trouble, they may withdraw (eg Miers) or be rejected (eg Bork).
Judicial experience
It is typical of Supreme Court justices to have previous federal courts
experience, for example Appeals court (8 out the 9 current justices were
formally on appeal courts). However, this is not vital, and can be from
academia or be a normal lawyer, for example Elena Kagan was previously Dean
of Harvard Law School.…read more

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The Litmus Test
This has been denied by Presidents, but in theory it is the test of the nominees
of their ideological purity- of their views on certain issues, before they are
confirmed or appointed. For example, in terms of appointment, when Cheney
and Bush were finding a new Justice, Cheney was in charge of asking about
ideology. In terms of confirmation, Thomas was grilled on his views on abortion
by the Senate Judiciary Committee.…read more


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