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Applying Obama's judicial philosophy to the court, distaffly

NPR's Supreme Court correspondent Nina Totenberg is enthusiastic about President-elect Obama's intellect and attention to judicial philosophy. Very enthusiastic. In a segment on "Morning Edition" about possible court appointments by a President Obama, Totenberg says:

Barack Obama probably has more knowledge and cares about the substance of this more than any president in memory, in a broad sense. He was a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago. He devoted a chapter in his book to his idea of what he thinks the role of the court should be and how one should pick Supreme Court justices.

Totenberg notes the chapter on judicial philosophy in Obama's book, which includes criticism of Justice Scalia, his voting against Roberts and Alito, and she reaches the conclusion Obama is not a believer in originalism.

So how will Obama apply his awe-inspiring insight, vast experience and grounded philosophy when nominating a Supreme Court justice? Host Steve Inskeep asks Totenberg, "We could go through a lot of names, I'm sure, but can you name just one person or maybe two that seem like obvious candidates to Democrats to be promoted to the Supreme Court or be named to a high judicial post?"

Totenberg: "Female, female, female."

Inskeep: "You're saying that there's an urge to appoint women."

Totenberg: "Well, there's only one woman on the court, down from two. More than half of the voters in this country are women. A hefty majority of them voted for Barack Obama, and I think it is inevitable that the first appointment be a woman. A Hispanic woman would be even better."

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.