Ah, wouldn’t it be nice…?
*WASHINGTON (AP, July 20) - President John Kerry walked from the Oval Office today, and introduced his first pick for the nation’s highest court to the nation as she stood by his side.
“Judge Amalya Lyle Kearse will make America proud when she takes her seat on the Supreme Court,” Kerry said. “I call upon the members of the Senate to exercise their constitutional function, and advise and swiftly consent to her nomination, as I am confident they will.”
Kearse, in brief remarks in the Rose Garden, said, “I’m deeply honored to receive this appointment, and I’ll do my best to prove worthy of the trust and confidence placed in me. I thank the President and his staff for their thoughtful consideration… I have always believed that the law is a noble calling, and the Supreme Court is an integral and hallowed institution of the American system of justice. I look forward to soon meeting with senators and answering their questions, consistent with my ethical obligation not to prejudge matters that may later come before me.”
Judge Kearse was born in Vauxhall, N.J. in 1937; she turned 68 on June 11. Her father was a postmaster and her mother was a doctor. A philosophy major and 1959 graduate of Wellesley, she was the only black woman in her law school class at the University of Michigan. She graduated cum laude in 1962, and entered private practice in New York City. She quickly rose to become a partner of the respected Wall Street firm of Hughes, Hubbard & Reed.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter appointed Kearse to the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City. She was the first woman on the court, and the second black judge (after Thurgood Marshall, before his own elevation to the Supreme Court). She has served as chief judge of the court, and is considered a courtly, low-key, center-left jurist.
Her name has been on earlier Supreme Court shortlists, and President Bill Clinton considered her as a prospective Attorney General in 1992 before eventually choosing Janet Reno. Kearse took senior status in 2002, but White House sources say she is in excellent health and, if confirmed, would be able to serve on the Supreme Court for many years to come. “She’s a great judge, a very smart and capable jurist, and let’s face it: it’s a two-fer: a black and a woman,” said one White House strategist, who asked not to be named. “It’s a legal and political slam-dunk.”
Off the bench, Judge Kearse is a world-class bridge player, and a five-time national champion.
Reaction on Capitol Hill was generally positive. Democrats praised the selection, while some Republicans took a “wait and see” attitude. However, Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), the Senate majority leader, and Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) promised hearings in time for Kearse, if confirmed, to take the bench when the Supreme Court begins its fall term on Oct. 3…*
Who do you think President Kerry would/should nominate?