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The judicial experience factor

President Obama's nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court misses the mark on one of the public's key criteria for nominees: she lacks judicial experience. A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in late April found seven in 10 said experience on the bench was a positive factor in considering a nominee to the high court, while just 5 percent viewed it as a factor against a nominee and about a quarter said it would make no difference.

And Obama's nomination of a woman is unlikely to make a difference in most Americans' views on the pick. In the poll, 81 percent said the nominee's gender was not a factor for them. See the public's take on other factors tested here.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  May 10, 2010; 1:19 PM ET
Categories:  Post Polls , Supreme Court  
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Comments

Prior judicial experience is not the sina qua non. Roberts had 2 years on the D.C. Circuit before he became C.J. Thomas had, maybe a year on the same bench before he was promoted. Sotomayer had a long record as a district and circuit judge. I think the last Harvard Law dean was Felix Frankfurter, who hired the first black law clerk, William T. Coleman, Jr. Prior judicial experience is good, but overrated.

Posted by: Rayr | May 10, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

That should have been "sine qua non."

Posted by: Rayr | May 10, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

If it did not matter prior to 40 years ago, why would it matter now? The ability of a SC Justice to interact well with people of divergent points of view is far more important than bench . The recent appointments of those with bench experience has occurred because of the combination of the Bork and Souter nominations. Presidents have wanted certainty about the philosophy of the person they were nominating (Souter) and wanted to make sure that confirmation would be obtained (Bork).

Posted by: craig-ny | May 10, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

If it did not matter prior to 40 years ago, why would it matter now? The ability of a SC Justice to interact well with people of divergent points of view is far more important than bench experience. The recent appointments of those with bench experience have occurred because of the combination of the Bork and Souter nominations. Presidents have wanted certainty about the philosophy of the person they were nominating (Souter) and wanted to make sure that confirmation would be obtained (Bork).

Posted by: craig-ny | May 10, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Like Americans know anything...Remember, we are the ones that had Big Momma's House 2 as the #1 movie in the world one weekend...Take it for what it's worth...

Posted by: Krazijoe | May 10, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

With the Kagan SCOTUS pick, President Obama appears to be advancing a progressive agenda on social issues, and a moderate, centrist stance on matters of national security.

So, Mr. President, if you value a candidate who respects constitutional rights, why not FINALLY move to RESTORE human and civil rights in America -- and call to account the Bush-Cheney leave-behinds who are responsible for ongoing government atrocities now being committed on YOUR WATCH?


HOMELAND FUSION CENTERS SILENTLY ASSAULT, IMPAIR 'TARGETED' AMERICANS WITH CELLULAR 'TORTURE TOWER' MICROWAVE RADIO FREQUENCY WEAPON SYSTEM: VETERAN JOURNO

• Obama administration does nothing to stop Bush-Cheney- spawned electromagnetic torture and subjugation, franchised out to a federal-local fusion center "Gestapo" network, says reporter exposing Homeland "torture towers:"

All of those cell towers you see all over America -- and other nations -- are NOT all for phone calls.

Some of them are TORTURE TOWERS -- part of a nationwide microwave/laser radio frequency "directed energy weapon" system that is being used by operatives of the multi-agency Homeland Security-run "fusion center" network to silently torture, impaiir, and physically and neurologically degrade the functioning and well-being of extrajudicially, unjustly '"targeted" citizens.

And apparently, the genocidal use of this precision-targeted domestic weapon system to attack and harm U.S. citizens is being done WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE AND CONSENT OF CONGRESS or high state officials.

Veteran mainstream media journalist Vic Livingston reports:

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves
http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america
OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "Obama: Take Down Fusion Center Gestapo..." Or Vic Livingston's Facebook page.

Posted by: scrivener50 | May 10, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

of course prior judicial experience is a positive factor. it can hardly be a negative. but being a law professor and Solicitor General is perfectly good for me. The supreme court is all about intellectual and analytical power, and she's got it.

Posted by: JoeT1 | May 10, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Does this court look like America? Where are the white protestant women? Apparently none are good enough for SCOTUS.

Posted by: maxtel1910 | May 10, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

If Kagan had been a longtime judge the republiturds would be saying Obama needs to appoint someone who hasn't been a judge. Roberts was a CCJ for barely 2 years. Clarence Thomas even less. Rehnquist was NEVER a judge and the right creamed their shorts over him. The right have become so partisan it's not even funny. They love to talk about the 'rule of law' but are reluctant to enforce the law when it works to their disadvantage.

Posted by: blarsen1 | May 11, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

A supreme court judge should be one who has knowledge of "rule of law." An activist is not a qualified candidate for a position to the supreme court. We are learning that from our election of an community activist from Chicago who was elected to the office of presidency.
They are tunnel visioned; radicals who will destroy the Republic founded on the principle of "limited democracy" through representative government. We have forgotten this little but most important concept in the United States.

Posted by: lhudson828 | May 13, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

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