• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Meese Weighs in on Souter’s Retirement and What’s Next

    The Heritage Foundation released the following statement yesterday by former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III concerning the announcement of Justice David Souter’s pending retirement from the Supreme Court. Meese is chairman of Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.

    “Justice Souter’s decision to retire presents President Obama and the U.S. Senate with a decision of great and lasting importance. Although no originalist, Justice Souter rejected a liberal, activist approach on a number of important cases, particularly in the areas of crime, punishment, and lawsuit abuse. Supreme Court appointments are among the most important decisions of any presidency, but what is at stake is a potential shift from a center-left justice to a far-left justice.

    “Americans have a right to expect the nomination of a justice who will fully obey his or her oath to preserve the Constitution, someone with a proven fidelity to the original meaning of the Constitution and laws as written. An essential qualification is that the nominee take the text of our Constitution and laws seriously. Americans neither want nor need a justice who looks for excuses to depart from the legal text and read into it what he or she wants.

    “As a senator and again today in the White House, President Obama has made statements that suggest he either does not understand these fundamental principles or that he does not agree with the important, but limited, role judges are given under the Constitution. Essentially, the president has signaled that he wants judges who would let their sympathies trump what the laws require. Americans don’t want judges who will bend the law toward the side they favor; they want a fair judge who will apply the law in the same way—as the people’s representatives in the legislature wrote it—regardless of who is before the court.

    “Given President Obama’s troubling statements, Americans expect the U.S. Senate to conduct a thoughtful and searching inquiry into the nominee’s approach to judging. That inquiry must be allowed to proceed without arbitrary timetables. And, at the end of the day, the Senate must be sure it does not grant a would-be activist life-time authority to bend the Constitution and laws in favor of his or her personal, political, or social beliefs. Our constitutional system and the American people require no less.”

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Meese Weighs in on Souter’s Retirement and What’s Next

    1. MAS1916 - Denver, CO says:

      It is incredible that the President would even have to be reminded of all this. Even the current far-left Justices pay some attention to existing law. What the President has said though, is that he is looking for someone with 'empathy.' What does this mean? Does this mean that empathy and sympathy overrules law enacted by a legitimate (and elected) legislature?

      Fortunately, Senator Specter's defection might impede Obama's progress in getting a far-left nominee out of committee. Unless Democrats change the rules, there would need to be at least one Republican vote on committee to release the nomination for a floor vote. Specter screwed up in reverse by jumping when he did.

      We must hold the GOP members accountable for insisting on at least some balance to the nominee's outlook on judicial activism.

      For a bit of a humorous look at what Obama REALLY wants in a nominee, you might hit:
      http://firstconservative.com/blog/top-ten/ten-qua

      Just posted this morning.

    2. Bill Davis; CA at th says:

      Come on Ed. What one point of Obama leads you to believe he gives a rats behind for the rule of law and more importantly this United States of America and citizens??

      Lend me your ears! He and his handlers have an unwavering history. If it looks like a snake, writhes like a snake and bites like a snake, guess what. It dang sure is a snake and you can take that to the bank, if you can find one.

      Where were you sixteen years ago, Ed???

    3. ECM, NH says:

      I think we can pretty much sum up Mr. Obama's stance on a potential USSC pick with: "I won."

      (Ergo, he'll appoint whomever he pleases and we'll accept it, whether we like it or not.)

    4. Mike, TX says:

      Seems to me that the issue of adhering strictly to what is stated or reasonably implied within the Constitution by Supreme Court Juctices is something that needs to be taught starting in law school. It also would have been helpful if our founding fathers would have addressed this issue in writing. That way, conservative or liberal Americans would not fret whenever a nomination needs to be accomplished by a President with whom they do not agree with politically. As long as the issues that allow this to happen are not resolved, then the fretting will continue.

    5. Buzzm1 SF Bay Area says:

      my tweets

      Possible Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor http://is.gd/w7q1 dressing Constitutional Law with "empathy" IS THIS CROSSING THE LINE ON LAW

      Designer Law: ad-dressing Constitutional Law with "empathy" Possible Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor: IS THIS CROSSING THE LINE ON LAW

    6. Barb -mn says:

      A part of the plan… Obama loves to appoint.

    7. Ben Franklin, Kendal says:

      The Admins were all talking on the Sunday shows about a nominee that would be "non-traditional" – not a lifetime Judge… are they preparing the way for Hillary?

    8. Tim says:

      The only possible solution I see here is to elect Congressmen and Senators whith the intestinal fortitude to impeach judges as well as presidents who are unwilling to uphold their oaths of office.

      This would only be possible if we the people no longer allow politicians to remain in washington for more than two terms. That would mean responsible and diligent voting on our part.

    9. NEAL RASMUSSEN says:

      DO JUDGES NEED TO PAY TAXES?OUR JOB IS TO ELOQUENTLY EXPRESS THE DUTIES OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CHECKS IN THE CONSTITUTION SO THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE SYSTEM WILL GUIDE PERFORMANCE NO MATTER WHAT THEIR PREVIOUS OPINIONS MIGHT BE,SO ANY SURPRISES ARE IN OUR FAVOR.

    10. Dale MN says:

      CALLING ALL LEGAL COUNSEL CALLING ALL LEGAL COUNSEL!!!!

      NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD COUNSEL TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY! We need ALL seasoned and new attorneys to come forward with the best knowledge they have on Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Civil Rights Law and International Law. "We the people" need all of the experts in Criminal Law, Litigation Law, Civil Law, Appellate Law, Taxation Law, Immigration Law, Nationality Law, Social Security Law, Foreclosure Law, Bankruptcy Law, Employment Law, Banking Law, Business Law, Corporate Law, Environmental Law, Human Rights Law, Property Law, Real Estate Law, Tort Law and White Collar Law. We need every one out there NOW! Soon you will not be needed because the appointed justices will just hear the case against someone and the judge will make a decision with out representation. The President and congress is going for total control and that means you also.

      The United States Government is the biggest and best represented law firm in the world. Most members are attorneys or have studied Constitution Law or specialized in some aspect or some have even learned from on the job training for many years of what to say and who will baffle the citizens with their BS.

      We need more attorneys as Thomas Lauria representing his clients with the claim that our government CZAR threaten Chrysler. I hope this is the leak in the dike that will open the door to holding our government to making legal and responsible actions.

      Check this out: http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/whit….
      The only way is to bring light to all of the background of how and why these major fast changes happened including all of the Governments involvement.

      Top Secret and sealed files have been released by Obama that threatens our safety. Obama and all Government Agencies have to be held responsible for their actions through this tsunami of financial and American Security activities. Our Constitutional rights need to be represented by people that will use the Laws of the Constitution and Land to get us back to the Constitution. We can not neglect the power we have or it will be taken away from us for ever. Between questions of Obama's personnel life and activities and the action of our congresspeople we need the ONES that understand and can start action on these violations now. Our safety already has been jeopardized very unethically and for political purposes ONLY. Politics and campaigning needs to be stopped also after the election, time to think of America's future instead of the blame game. No time for games.

    11. Normca says:

      I vote for Hillary Clinton for associate justice. If she was qualified on day one for the top white house job and qualified as Secretary of State, why not Justice of the Supreme Court ? I'd like to see the Peter Principle advanced some more. We can see Bill more as well. Obama will select his old law school buddy and no one will call it like they did with Bush's Texas friend. What do qualifications have to do with Obama anyway ?

    12. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Wouldn't it be wonderful if Mr. Obama's nomination was accepted, and in turn endorced the President's impeachment through the misuse of American Citizen's Constitutional Rights!

      Hozro

    13. Ralph Foster, Bayto says:

      i really enjoy the comments. I vote for term

      limits.

      r foster/baytown

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×