Obama: Court Pick Will Go Beyond 'Ivory Tower' Smarts

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2009 10:05 AM CDT
President Barack Obama.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – President Obama said today he would be announcing his nominee to the Supreme Court “soon” and hopes to have the new justice confirmed by Congress’ August recess, Bloomberg reports. In a C-SPAN interview, Obama laid out his criteria, which includes not only “ivory tower learning” but also empathy. “You have to be able to stand in somebody else’s shoes and see through their eyes and get a sense of how the law might work or not work in practical day-to-day living.”

Obama wants a quick confirmation so the new justice can “hit the ground” in October, and noted that Samuel Alito and John Roberts were both confirmed in 70 days. “I think that’s a fair timeframe for us to work with as well." When asked if he would like to serve on the court someday, the president, a constitutional scholar, demurred. “You know,” he said, “I’m not sure that I could get through a Senate confirmation.”