By Jon W. Davidson, Legal Director, Lambda Legal
"If you simply read the text of the Constitution and somebody said, 'Where does it refer to school desegregation?' - of course you would not have found anything," Justice David H. Souter said during his confirmation hearings. "But I think that clearly implicit in the text of the Constitution itself and in the concept of due process was the proper basis for the Court's exercise of its jurisdiction."
Justice Souter got that right. And with his recent announcement that he will retire at the end of this term, we reiterate the need for a fair and impartial judiciary, with justices who will uphold the Constitution, apply its principles carefully to the questions before them each day and protect personal freedoms for everyone in America, not just a select few.
At Lambda Legal we fight every day for the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and those with HIV. In doing so, we are ever aware of the need for judges who will not fold under political pressure but who will be thoughtful and unflinching in fulfilling their role heading up a third, and equal, branch of government and one with a special responsibility for protecting constitutional rights.
Appointing a new Supreme Court justice is a complex process and we anticipate that President Obama will nominate someone who believes in upholding the principles of equal justice and fairness that are fundamental to the Constitution. President Obama has a deep pool of exceptionally qualified legal talent from which to choose — candidates with excellent legal records and a deep respect for core constitutional values. Diversity is also important — both in the conventional sense and by way of experience. Women, people of color, and self-identified LGBT people continue to be underrepresented at all levels of the judiciary, and we have high hopes that President Obama will adequately weigh diversity as a factor in his nomination process.
Americans value fairness. And no matter what your political beliefs as this nomination process proceeds, the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary is a concept upon which we can all agree.
Read the Opposing Views debate, Who Should the Next Supreme Court Justice Be?