What this will mean for the future of the judiciary

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What this will mean for the future of the judiciary is difficult to say, but continuing on this current trend may prove hazardous. A justice on the Court often has a significant and qualified résumé before even being considered for nomination. Their résumés should include jobs and professions that forced them to establish opinions and philosophies about the critical issues of the day (such as abortion, capital punishment,
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74 and defendant‘s rights ). While opinions about those issues were forged long beforehand, they will most likely change once justices ascend to the Court; they have to. Before taking the job, little constrains great lawyers and lower court judges. Much praise is given for forward thinkers in those positions. Such forward thinking, however, can prove detrimental to justices. Once on the Court, a justice is constrained by long established precedent. Even when they may personally disagree with the philosophies and ideologies established, the justice must decide current issues along the lines set by relevant precedents. Additionally, an individual is free to keep and hold whatever opinions he wishes, without debate. A Supreme Court justice, on the other hand, is only one of nine. The justice is not an individual, but instead a member of a nine person institution. Whichever opinion receives the most votes become the opinion of the Court. An individual opinion no longer matters. The danger with a controversial nominee is that such controversy may prevent confirmation; however, there is also danger in choosing a candidate just to avoid controversy. Controversy means that the nominee has accomplishments, often resulting from deciding high profile, or at least somewhat public issues. This is not to say, though, that lack of controversy equals lack of accomplishment. Many lesser-known justices have accomplished as much as, if not more than, any other well-known justice. The problem arises from the automatic elimination of potential candidates based solely on their recognizability. For such an important position as a Supreme Court justice, it is important to ask why any nominee would be non-controversial. Controversy during confirmation almost guarantees that the nominee did something noteworthy during their career; it means that the nominee has not been afraid to make a decision or give an
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75 opinion. The job description of a Supreme Court justice requires an accomplished legal mind, of both significant political and jurisprudential expertise. Past confirmations have shown that some of the more difficult confirmations have produced some of the most established and greatest justices. Brandeis, for example, suffered through a six-month confirmation struggle (Frank), and the Senate re jected Taney‘s first nomination .
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