The Supreme Court


Complex issues having long-term impact are considered, analyzed, & decided.

Issues that rise to the US Supreme Court level often become broad determinants of life in the United States for decades thereafter. These issues affect every American.

1.)  President Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsberg as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on June 14, 1993. During her testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearings, Ginsberg refused to answer questions regarding her personal views on most issues. She refused to indicate how she might adjudicate certain hypothetical situations if she were to pass the Senate’s vote and become a Supreme Court Justice. Ginsberg refused to answer the Senators’ questions about how she planned to transition from an advocate for causes she personally held to serving as a justice on the US Supreme Court. Ginsburg refused to discuss her beliefs about limits and an appropriate role of jurisprudence, stating, “Were I to rehearse here what I would say and how I would reason on such questions, I would act injudiciously”. Senators were wrong to allow this tactic because their role requires that they insist upon receiving responses. That is how they determine a nominee’s worthiness & predispositions. Senators abdicated their role. Senators were right in allowing this duplicitous tactic. Senators were wrong to allow her to use this tactic because it violates the purpose of the hearings & established a precedent that can inhibit future hearings.

2. Please select the factors that you believe should directly influence members of the US Congress to accept or reject a president’s nominee for the US Supreme Court. Potential factors include a nominee’s: Lifetime judicial decisions; Political affiliations; Educational background; Opinions written on cultural matters; Testimony before the Senate; Race, gender, & ethnicity of the nominee; Academic achievements; Speeches on various subjects.

3. Generally, from which perspective do you believe the US Constitution should be interpreted? Strictly — exactly — meaning just the US Constitution intended; Strict constructionist approach; Modernist interpretation; Loose constructionist approach; or, do you not have an opinion?

4. Please select the factors that you believe should directly impact US Supreme Court justices’ decision making processes when they consider cases. Social & cultural values of the day; Precedents; Opinion polls of the day; Personal preferences; Based on legal reasoning; Based on the US Constitution; Discussions with other justices.

5. In the next months & years, the president will nominate one or more people to serve on the US Supreme Court. How interested in the nomination process are you? I will watch as much as I can on C-SPAN TV; I will follow the news closely on the Internet; I will follow the news closely in newspapers; I will check out some headlines, but not read much detail; I do not have any interest.

6. The US Supreme Court announced some important decisions. These include decisions regarding eminent domain and placement of The Ten Commandments on public property. Generally, how did you feel when you heard about these decisions? I had not heard about these decisions; The decisions were weak & vague; I agreed with both; One was good & one was not good; I disagreed with both; I did not care enough to read much about them.

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