The Atlantic Monthly had an interesting article back in September (after Justice O'Connor retired) that observed that many problems with the Court stem from a slate of justices with little or no trial experience. Most have only served in the Federal Appeals system:
...how many remaining justices have ever held elected office? How many have previously served at the highest levels of the executive branch of government? How many have argued big-time commercial lawsuits within the past thirty-five years? How many have ever been either criminal defense lawyers or trial prosecutors? How many have presided over even a single criminal or civil trial? The answers are zero, zero, zero, one, and one, respectively. (David Souter was a New Hampshire prosecutor once upon a time, and later served as a trial judge.)Though I am in favor of doing everything--anything--necessary to stop the Alito nomination, it is interesting to note that he was, at least, a federal prosecutor who has argued cases both in the federal court system and in front of the Supreme Court.
Justice Spitzer anyone?
Yes, at least Alito has actual experience doing SOMETHING. Was just reading about the ABA ratings and their 'importance' given the context of their historically biased ratings. Why are they such an authority?
In many ways a very depressing prospect.