MICHAELSON: Mr. President, if there
were a vacancy in the Supreme Court and you had the
opportunity to fill that position today, who would you
choose and why?
BUSH: I'm not telling.
I really don't have -- haven't picked anybody yet. Plus,
I want them all voting for me.
I would pick somebody who would not allow their personal
opinion to get in the way of the law. I would pick somebody
who would strictly interpret the Constitution of the United
Let me give you a couple of examples, I guess, of the
kind of person I wouldn't pick.
I wouldn't pick a judge who said that the Pledge of
Allegiance couldn't be said in a school because it had the
words "under God" in it. I think that's an example of a
judge allowing personal opinion to enter into the
decision-making process as opposed to a strict
interpretation of the Constitution.
Another example would be the Dred Scott case, which is
where judges, years ago, said that the Constitution allowed
slavery because of personal property rights.
That's a personal opinion. That's not what the
Constitution says. The Constitution of the United States
says we're all -- you know, it doesn't say that. It doesn't
speak to the equality of America.
And so, I would pick people that would be strict
constructionists. We've got plenty of lawmakers in
Washington, D.C. Legislators make law; judges interpret the
And I suspect one of us will have a pick at the end of
next year -- the next four years. And that's the kind of
judge I'm going to put on there. No litmus test except for
how they interpret the Constitution.
GIBSON: Senator Kerry, a minute and a
KERRY: Thank you, Charlie.
A few years ago when he came to office, the president
said -- these are his words -- "What we need are some good
conservative judges on the courts."
And he said also that his two favorite justices are
Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas.
So you get a pretty good sense of where he's heading if
he were to appoint somebody.
Now, here's what I believe. I don't believe we need a
good conservative judge, and I don't believe we need a good
liberal judge. I don't believe we need a good judge of that
kind of definition on either side.
I subscribe to the Justice Potter Stewart standard. He
was a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. And
he said the mark of a good judge, good justice, is that when
you're reading their decision, their opinion, you can't tell
if it's written by a man or woman, a liberal or a
conservative, a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian. You just know
you're reading a good judicial decision.
What I want to find, if I am privileged to have the
opportunity to do it -- and the Supreme Court of the United
States is at stake in this race, ladies and gentlemen.
The future of things that matter to you -- in terms of
civil rights, what kind of Justice Department you'll have,
whether we'll enforce the law. Will we have equal
opportunity? Will women's rights be protected? Will we
have equal pay for women, which is going backwards? Will a
woman's right to choose be protected?
These are constitutional rights, and I want to make sure
we have judges who interpret the Constitution of the United
States according to the law.