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The Next Justice

by Editor on April 28th, 2010

A.D. Freudenheim, The Editor

As much as I may be confused by the direction our country should take—European-style socialism or hard-core libertarianism?—I am decidedly less mixed in my opinions about the next Supreme Court appointee. This is not to say I have a name to put forward, so much as a clear picture of the candidate likely to be the most valuable for breaking through the Court’s present left-right split. Here goes.

The next Justice (or, the next nominee for a seat on the Court) needs to be someone who will egregiously offend people on both sides of the Senate aisle, while paving a path through the extreme middle of the Court’s decisions for the next 40 years.

The nominee should, preferably, be either a present sitting judge or an esteemed legal scholar—but someone who spent time in a slightly different career prior to their current position, perhaps working in the business world or as a high school teacher.

The nominee’s background matters less than what they have done with it. Catholic, Jewish, Pentecostal: as long as they are presently a devoted (and official) Secular Humanist or Ethical Culture-ist, that should do it. The only exceptions to this should be for a Unitarian Universalist, or a Muslim; the latter would be perfect for the purposes of making everyone in the Senate excitable.

The nominee must, of course, believe in the separation of church and state, but not so much that they allow priests who are molesters to go untouched by criminal law—or so much that they think its wrong for a state school to support a religiously affiliated student group if the same school also supports racial, political, or gender-affiliated student groups.

For the same reason—it’s important to know where you’ve been, to understand where you’re going—the nominee’s ethnic background also does not matter, so much as clear evidence of a lack of entitlement. Did they pull themselves up by their bootstraps? Pick ‘em! Are they second-generation bootstrappers? Maybe even better.

Man or woman? Yes, one or the other would be good. If the nominee owns a gun, even better. If the nominee was once the victim of a hunting accident but still owns guns: best of all!

Abortion? Perhaps the Gordian knot for a confused and conflicted Senate, especially those colored-dog Democrats. Clearly, the nominee should be against abortion on moral grounds, but for it on legal grounds—and if the nominee is a woman, she should preferably be able to discuss having faced a possible (though not actual) unwanted pregnancy at some point in her life. If she took Plan B as a result, perfect.

Finally, much was made recently of some of the sitting Justices seemingly not knowing the difference between a pager, a text message, and an e-mail. Really, too much has been made of this, unless we suddenly believe the medium is the message. What matters is whether the nominee has a sense of the ubiquity of these devices and tools in the lives of normal people. (Because they are ubiquitous, but the nominee may not be normal.) In theory, any nominee who has spent time in the last decade not working as a judge or legal scholar should have had occasion to use a cell phone and an e-mail system, and it is up to the lions of the Senate to sniff out the meaty truth here. Similarly, we-the-people are entitled to know whether the nominee has ever used YouTube, Google, or signed an online petition from some relentless group like or some SwiftBoatVeterans.something group. All of this should come out in the hearing, with an emphasis on a discovery process for any web links the nominee may have willingly shared with other people.

But if the nominee has ever (s)(t)exted pictures of themselves at some point, and then posted them to Facebook? This should be considered an automatic qualifier; after all, nothing could be more in keeping with the zeitgeist of the day.

From → Humor

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