The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Supreme Court Nomination Process for Dummies 

For those of you unfamiliar with process, here's how a judge is nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Step 1: Someone either retires from the Court, or dies. Hopefully the former, but when most of the judges are older than the hills, the latter occurs occasionally as well.

Step 2: The President gets a big ego trip because he now has a chance to "make a lasting mark on history", and "change how the court will decide cases for years to come". Close friends have said that they didn't know George Bush Sr. could giggle like a school girl until they had seen him reviewing a list of nominees.

Step 3: The media takes this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of Roe vs. Wade, and then tries to keep a straight face as they use words like jurisprudence and stare decisis. Sales of Latin-English dictionaries skyrocket during this period.

Step 4: The President praises the judge who either left the court, or just died... even though privately and sometimes publicly for years before they swore in effigy at them.

Step 5: The President nominates a judge for the position. Hits on Google, Lexus-Nexus skyrocket. Law school phones ring off the hook for the next several days, as do the phones of police stations in any city the nominee has ever lived, or even had vacation. Adoption record requests also increase greatly.

Step 6: Senators make pronouncements like how they won't use an abortion litmus test while the President sits comfortably in his office knowing his nominee will make the right decision on abortion, and the nominee sits in his office laughing at the very idea that anyone actually knows what he's thinking.

Step 7: Senators drag the nominee before a committee and make him sit there quietly while they berate him for no apparent reason, make grand pronouncements, and claim that they're not grand standing but instead are trying to weight a difficult decision about the future of the court, even though they keep talking about hurricanes. The nominee will sometimes have to remind the Senators that the US Supreme Court isn't that powerful.

Step 8: Senators ask the nominee questions they know he won't answer, then yell at him for not answering them. The nominee will usually throw them a bone or two and use words like stare decisis (while Senators break out the Latin-English dictionary). Often times the nominee will use quaint analogies with baseball, or inkblots to help the Senators understand the law. Sometimes this backfires.

Step 9: The Senators finally vote on the nominee, using the decision they made long before the hearings ever took place.

Step 10: The nominee, now a Supreme Court justice goes home and giggles like a school girl at how everyone thinks they know what he'll do, even though he doesn't have a clue himself. The President giggles like a school girl in the oval office because he was able to pull one over on the Senators, and the Senators giggle like school girls because its martini time.


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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.

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