May 07, 2009

Diversity That Matters

There have been calls for Obama to appoint a gay justice, woman justice, minority justice, west coast justice, non-Harvard justice, or a non-Catholic justice just to name a few.  I haven't really covered these because it is so discouraging to think that is what the nomination process has become about.  But Ann Aldrich, U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Ohio, and her law clerks have an interesting Op-Ed in todays New York Times calling for Obama to nominate someone with trial experience as a federal district judge.

"Why is this an issue? Most Supreme Court cases are initiated in district courts, and many end up back there when they are remanded for proceedings that are consistent with the high court’s ruling.

While the court’s opinions affect the day-to-day operations and decisions of the district courts, many of the justices lack the practical experience that is necessary for providing district courts with clear and workable directives. ... 

The nomination of a district court judge would bring much practical knowledge and understanding to the Supreme Court when providing answers and instructions to the lower courts. After a 50-year absence of district court judges on the high court, the president would do well to replace Justice Souter with a young and promising nominee with experience on the federal district court bench — this judge excluded."

Hopefully Obama is considering factors such as this instead of focusing solely on the laundry list of irrelevant factors listed above.