Rush to fill court positions raises questions


    On Monday, the confirmation hearings for John Roberts began. With the death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, President Bush nominated Roberts to fill Rehnquist’s position, after Roberts had already been nominated to fill Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s position.This came as a bit of a surprise to some. Roberts is relatively young and has far less experience compared to the team of well-seasoned justices that he would be leading.

    O’Connor, has put off her retirement due to the recent events.

    As the hearings began, no major opposition was foreseen from Democratic or Republican senators. However, abortion rights and civil libertarian groups, among others, have not been shy about voicing their objections.

    It is feared that Roberts will swing the court to the conservative side, and Republicans will have a monopoly in all branches of the government. However, Roberts came forward on the first day of the hearings and announced, “I come before this committee with no agenda, no platform. I will approach every case with an open mind.”

    When interpreting the constitution, it is impossible to remove all bias because individuals bring their own experiences and personal values to that type of situation.

    We may all be subject to our own interpretations, but we must have faith that the Supreme Court will continue to uphold the constitutional values that define America.

    I do not doubt that justice will be served because I have faith in our government and the system of checks and balances. I do, however, fear the tremendous ambiguity that surrounds Roberts.

    As an American citizen, I have a right to know where he stands on the issues that affect me. I also fear for the health of the Supreme Court.

    Diversity has never been easily achieved in the selection of justices. When O’Connor resigns, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be the only woman serving on the court.

    We have yet to see an Asian American or Latin American as a justice in the Supreme Court. Despite the incredible progress in the arena of civil rights, racism and discrimination are still dominating factors in our society.

    I believe Bush’s renomination of Roberts may have been hasty and lacking in proper consideration of other qualified candidates, specifically someone with more experience.

    In conversation, I overheard someone say that Roberts’ role as a pallbearer at Rehnquist’s funeral was only to guarantee that Rehnquist made it into the ground. Frankly, with all the rush around Roberts’ renomination, I can’t say I disagree.

    I can only wonder in light of recent events, who will replace O’Connor, and exactly how long she is planning to postpone her retirement.

    More so than Roberts, I believe that O’Connor’s successor will be the deciding factor in the direction of the Supreme Court.

    Lyndsay Peden is a biology and political science major from Versailles, Ky.