SUPREME COURT; Is Change Needed?

The Florida Times Union, June 5, 2009 | Go to article overview

SUPREME COURT; Is Change Needed?


The nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as a member of the Supreme Court has raised a number of issues regarding one of the three branches of the federal government.

Presuming a nominee is qualified, is there a legitimate reason to diversify the membership of the court?

With people living longer today, should there be an age limit on justices? There is an age limit in the Florida Supreme Court, for instance.

Sotomayor is an experienced district and appeals court judge.

We asked members of our E-Mail Interactive Group to comment on these and other issues. As usual, we received many thoughtful responses. Many of the changes, such as age limits or term limits, would not come easily, but would require a Constitutional Amendment.

For these and many others, go to our Editorial Blog: www.jacksonville.com/interact/blog/mike_clark.

As usual, we heavily edited these responses for space reasons.

JUST LIKE BUSINESS

As a middle-aged white man, I'm delighted at the prospect of greater diversity in the Supreme Court. It is long overdue. Fortune 500 companies have been actively pursuing diversity in management and work force for years. Why? Because it results in a more successful company. A court that does not reflect the diversity of our country risks losing touch with, and the confidence of, the people it serves. - STEPHEN COBB, St. Augustine.

MANY DEFINITIONS OF DIVERSITY

If we must explore the "richness" of one's experiences to ascertain their legal acumen, then the greatest weight should be given to two of life's richest experiences for which there is no substitute, marriage and raising a family. Sonia Sotomayor is single, no children. - ERIC HEINTON, Fleming Island.

A DISSERVICE

The Supreme Court is not a representative body. It is a judicial body that is charged with comparing laws drafted by the people's representatives against the Constitution.

The urge to make the court reflect society's ethnic and sexual make-up does the nation a disservice.

Lifetime appointments serve to minimize political pressures on the court. The system can be frustrating but, in the long run, the Supreme Count should continue to be constituted in the manner that our Constitution mandates. - RICK HARTLEY, Jacksonville.

TALENT IS WIDESPREAD

I am a firm believer that the best talent in any profession is not limited to any particular race, ethnic class or sex.

For example, some of our best medical doctors are women. Some of our best nurses are men.

Should we pick the next justice solely because he or she belongs to specific sex or ethnic class? The answer is no. But if 80 percent of the court is made up of males and 80 percent of the court is made up of whites, then if you can find a woman who is not white and is equally qualified, then it is a positive move to add her to the court. …

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