McConnell foreshadows the fight to replace Souter, accusing President Obama of slanted views on how to pick a judge. From a floor statement by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday:
Over the years, there has been a growing tendency among some on the Left to pick or promote judges based on policy and political preferences, and President Obama's past statements on judicial appointments strongly suggest that he shares this view.
As a candidate for President, he said that his criteria for a judicial nominee would be someone who would empathize with particular parties or particular groups. This viewpoint was evident again last week when, in describing a good nominee, the President seemed to stress his or her ability to connect with a particular person or group over and above a judge's traditional role of applying the law without prejudice.
The problem with this philosophy is that it arises out of the misguided notion that the courts are simply an extension of the legislative branch rather than a check on it. Americans don't want judges to view any group or individual who walks into the courtroom as being more equal than any other group or individual. They expect someone who will apply the law equally to everyone, so everyone has a fair shake...
The President is free to nominate whomever he likes. But picking judges based on his or her perceived sympathy for certain groups or individuals undermines the faith Americans have in our judicial system. So throughout this nomination process, the impartiality of judges is a principle that all of us should strongly defend.