Washington, DC – Justice O’Connor, appointed by President Reagan, has led efforts to find common ground on the Court – in case after case she has been the pivotal swing justice. President Bush bears the responsibility to help avoid further dividing the country between the extremes of those who may call for an ideological, litmus test nominee. The appointment of a moderate, independent and fair-minded justice in the tradition of Justice O’Connor, rather than a more extreme judge in the mold of Antonin Scalia, can meet that challenge. A fair consultation and a considered choice will produce a dignified process.
If President Bush wants support for a nominee, he must respect our country’s constitutional traditions and engage in genuine consultation with the Senate, for which there is more than adequate time. If he consults seriously, we believe the President will find that a broad spectrum of Senators and a majority of Americans want a mainstream nominee, rather than one who will join the court’s radical wing. The American people deserve a genuine process of consultation followed by careful deliberation on the nominee.