April 9th, 2010
01:05 PM ET
13 years ago

Stevens reaction: 'A tireless worker and a historic figure' -Sessions

(CNN) - Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement Friday.

Read the statement after the jump:

“It is important for us to recognize the long and historic role that Justice Stevens has played on the Supreme Court, and to thank him for his lifelong service to his country. He is a tireless worker and a historic figure in America’s legal system, and we wish him only the best during his retirement from the Court.

“Justice Stevens’ approaching retirement sets in motion an important constitutional process to nominate and confirm the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. In exercising its ‘advise and consent’ role, the Senate must act on behalf of the American people to carefully scrutinize the nominee’s qualifications, prior speeches and writings, and record. Senate hearings are the public’s best opportunity to become involved in this process, and it is critical that the Judiciary Committee conduct a fair and thorough evaluation of whomever President Obama nominates for this extraordinary lifetime appointment.

“We know from the nomination of Justice Sotomayor last spring that the public is rightly concerned about the future of our judiciary. The product of her confirmation hearing was a near-universal rejection of President Obama’s empathy standard, the flawed notion that judges should allow personal feelings, political opinions, and social views to guide judicial decision-making. Senators on both sides of the aisle—and the nominee herself—disavowed the president’s standard because it lies contrary to the traditional role of a judge in our legal system. Such an approach opens the door to an anti-democratic abuse of power where unaccountable federal judges set national policy according to their own views and political agendas. That approach is deeply unpopular with the American people, and any nominee who subscribes to it should expect bipartisan opposition.

“The courtroom is a place reserved for the search for truth and the fair adjudication of disputes, free from politics. The American people want judges of the utmost integrity who have demonstrated a commitment to the Constitution and a willingness to impartially apply the law to the facts to reach a just outcome, without regard to the parties involved. There is a growing movement that is calling for more fidelity to our constitutional order, not less.

“The public is deeply concerned about the future of our country, and I expect that the American people will watch these proceedings more closely than ever before. There is much at stake, as the court’s interpretation of the Constitution in the coming years could significantly affect the implementation of domestic polices approved by the president and Congress over the past year.

“I hope I will be able to support the individual selected by the president, as I have a majority of his judicial nominees. But, as I have said before, I cannot and will not vote for a nominee with a record that fails to demonstrate a commitment to the Constitution, the rule of law, and the oath of a judge.

“I look forward to learning of the president’s choice, and commencing this important constitutional process.”

Filed under: Jeff Sessions • John Paul Stevens • Supreme Court
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Too bad he didn't retire during the Bush presidency. We have now lost an opportunity to replace him with someone of intellect and knowledge and will instead be subjected to another policical hack from Obama.

    April 9, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Jim in San Mateo

    Which basically means that Senator Sessions isn't going to vote for any nominee who is to the left of Rush Limbaugh.

    April 9, 2010 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Pkm i hope obama will pick a person who can think for him self and not bend under pressure from both parites

    April 9, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Greg

    Let's get an Ultra-Liberal in there. After all Bush appointed two extreme righties with Alito and Roberts who have nothing but contempt for the working class and women. That way we'll have an almost fair court. We'll just have to wait for the bully Scalia to retire and put real Americans in control again. That and we can watch the teabaggers have a hissy fit.

    April 9, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. Nimises

    The President has to appoint someone now? Oh great, the republicans will fight it no matter who it is. They can not allow this president any more success. How could they defeat him otherwise? The old fashion way of debating is a method left in the past. They will sling crap to the wall and see what sticks. Much like death panels killing grandma; seceding from the Union to overthrow the government, whatever the President is for, you can bet the repubs are against.

    April 9, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Sue

    Senator Sessions is a very smart and classy man.

    Have no doubt Senator Sessions-–the majority in the country agree with you 100%.

    April 9, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |