Unfortunately, our judicial branch has become increasing politically polarized with regard to the nomination of judges to the Supreme Court.

When a candidate’s nomination is put forth, a knee-jerk reaction occurs. A chorus of voices from the opposing party begins looking for ideological reasons to reject the candidate. Instead, they should be asking whether the candidate is eminently qualified to serve in the position they are nominated for.

Politicians from both parties immediately assume a given candidate will vote in lockstep with the ideology of the nominating party, instead of using jurisprudence to decide a legal case. Indeed, too often this is the case. A Supreme Court justice’s vote on a particular high-profile case can be correctly predicted depending on whether they were nominated by a president with a liberal or a conservative ideology.

Fortunately, Chief Justice John Roberts has shown us twice in recent weeks (and several other times prior) that his vote is not predetermined by political ideology, but rather by critical legal analysis of the case.

The media make pronouncements like “Roberts not voting the way conservatives expect.” And that’s exactly how it should be. If politicians just want someone to vote their way, why go through the trouble of trying to find a candidate who has law degrees from a prestigious university? Just select a candidate from a diploma mill who will promise to vote the way you want.

We need more “surprises” from our Supreme Court justices, then we will truly have the independent judiciary that our Founding Fathers envisioned.

Samuel Rosenthal
Portland


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