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Supreme Court Justice Nominations

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Supreme Court Justice Nominations

According to Floyd G. Cullop, The Supreme Court is responsible for "interpreting a federal, state, and local law and deciding whether or not it is constitutional," making The Supreme Court of the United States perhaps the most powerful branch of the Federal Government. Although the Supreme Court does not make the laws, the justices do review the laws and decide if they are Constitutional. In fact, over the course of a justice's tenure on The Supreme Court, he or she will have many opportunities to review laws and his or her decisions could affect the lives of many Americans. Furthermore, Supreme Court justices serve life terms, meaning that they hopefully do not have to make decisions in the hopes of getting re-elected. Although politics plays a heavy role in the nomination and subsequent confirmation of justices to the Supreme Court, hopefully after being confirmed, justices will follow the Constitution and make decisions fairly and justly.

The qualifications to become a justice of the Supreme Court are the most lenient of the three branches of government. Actually, there are no formal requirements to be a justice. However, MSN Encarta says, "justices have all been lawyers, and most pursued legal and political careers before serving on the Court."And since most have had political careers prior to their term on the Supreme Court, justices undoubtedly have had an affiliation with a political party. In fact, it was a President who initially nominated the individual for the position of justice and the Senate who confirmed them. The President and members of the Senate are very much influenced by their party, which makes it unlikely that they would nominate or confirm someone for the Supreme Court who would go against their party's agenda.

Idealistically, the President will nominate the best person to reside on the Supreme Court, and since the office in question has to due with allocating justice, the individual should be both fair and honest. Unfortunately, the process is more political than idealistic. According to MSN Encarta, "Presidents often try to secure Senate support by balancing the Court's geographic and regional background. Many 20th-century presidents have also tried to balance the Court's religious, racial, ethnic, and gender makeup." So, rather than nominate the most qualified candidate, the President will put forth the nominee most likely to remain loyal and who is most likely to be confirmed. Confirmation of a candidate by the Senate is also political. MSN Encarta asserts that "on average, the Senate rejects about 20 percent of all nominees to the Supreme Court. The president's choice must face questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee,



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