Geoffrey Stone on the Obama Administration's Judicial Nomination Process
Last week, ten prominent law professors and I wrote the following letter to President Obama in order to convey our concerns about the way in which the Administration has gone about nominating federal judges. The White House's response to our letter was to acknowledge the issue and to assure us that it had already begun taking steps to address our concerns. It will be interesting to see over the next several months whether the Administration in fact makes this issue a central priority of its domestic agenda. A lot depends on it.
February 24, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
When James Madison first proposed the Bill of Rights, he counseled that the success of our constitutional system would depend in no small part upon the courage and wisdom of our federal judges, who would serve as the "guardians" of our liberties and as "an impenetrable bulwark" against every "encroachment" upon our most cherished freedoms.
After decades of Republican appointments of conservative federal judges (at the time of your election more than 60 percent of all federal judges and seven of the nine justices of the Supreme Court had been appointed by Republican presidents), you now have an historic opportunity to reestablish our nation's commitment to the core values of our Constitution by nominating judges who will uphold the fundamental principles of individual dignity, equality, due process, personal liberty, privacy, and separation of powers. We urge you to seize this opportunity.