Catherine B. California

Defining the Supreme Court and the Nation, for Years to Come

The next president has a crucial influence on the future of the Supreme Court, which significantly affects the functioning of our entire country. The important task of selecting our next Court justice should not be one of partisan agendas but rather a matter of choosing the most qualified person for the role.

Dear Mister or Madam President,

I am writing to you because I am concerned that given the extreme partisanship seen in this election, the next Supreme Court justice may be chosen for his/her political views as opposed to his/her qualifications to be a Supreme Court judge.

As you know, the partisan standoff in the Senate has resulted in the delaying of the nomination until the election is over. This is outrageous and not just in my opinion. A poll from the Washington Post found that the majority of Americans believe the hearings should not have been postponed for the election: Americans want a qualified Supreme Court justice, not one selected out of political concerns!

According to a study published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, since 1971, the average age of retirement for a Supreme Court justice has been just under seventy-nine. At this moment, three justices are over that mark: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy. Because the Supreme Court justices are appointed for life, in essence, they either retire or die in office. Consequently, your decision to name the next justice (and possibly the next four justices) will have a significant and long-lasting impact on the nation's highest court and the country as a whole. It will be a choice that endures far longer than the four or eight years that you will hold office. Thus your task in nominating the next Supreme Court Justice is momentous!

As I see it, there should not be a "litmus test" for the next Supreme Court justice based on any single issue; rather, it should be based on his/her record and experience as a competent, reasonable judge and his/her understanding of the primacy of upholding the Constitution and interpreting it appropriately. I neither want someone appointed because he/she is pro-gun control nor for the reason that he/she is pro-abortion rights. I may have my own views on these topics, indeed I do; but, that is not the reason someone should be appointed.

To conclude, please, in your selection of the next justice of our Supreme Court, the tribunal whose decisions reach into every aspect of our lives, both political and personal, choose the candidate who will best embrace his/her duty of impartiality and render decisions reflecting "neutral" legal principles, not partisan politics. Your chance, nay your responsibility, to nominate the the next Supreme Court Justice is both an honor and a burden. Please do not let your vision be cloudy by political machinations. Take this task on with honor and careful diligence for the good of the country and your legacy and choose well, Mister/Madam President!

Thank you.


Catherine B.

Marlborough School

AP World History Period H

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