Peter Slevin describes in the Washington Post what qualities President Obama will be looking for as he appoints a new Justice to the Supreme Court. According to Slevin, the quality that Obama is chiefly concerned about is “empathy.” In other words, Obama is not so much looking for a Justice who will interpret the Constitution according to the framers’s intent. Rather, he is looking for a Justice who can go beyond the letter of the law and stand for justice when no one else will.
Slevin’s article reveals (perhaps unconsciously) why Obama’s approach to appointing Justices is not sound. Ever since Marbury v. Madison, the Court’s most significant power is that of “judicial review”â€”the right of the court to declare laws unconstitutional. This power allows the Court to have the last word on what the Constitution means. For Obama, however, a Supreme Court Justice’s job is not to bring the proper interpretation of the law to bear upon a given case. The rule of law (Constitutionally speaking) sometimes has to give way to the discretion of Justices who sometimes know better.
This article is worth reading in toto, and you can find it here.