Obama: Court Pick Must Have Practical Sense’ as Well

Posted May 23, 2009 at 11:04am

President Barack Obama is planning to pick a Supreme Court Justice who is not simply an academic, but who has a sense of how the real world operates as well.

In an interview with C-SPAN aired Saturday morning, the president said he wants to pick someone with “intellectual fire power, but also a little bit of the common touch and … a practical sense of how the world works.—

“I want a judge who has a sense of how regulations might affect businesses in a practical way. … So, if there is a farm program somewhere, and you have somebody who can take the time to learn about how farmers work, that’s helpful,— he told C-SPAN political editor Steve Scully.

Obama wouldn’t say precisely when he planned to announce his nominee to replace retiring Justice David Souter, or whether he was intent on choosing a woman, but did say he hoped to make an announcement in time to have hearings in July so that the new justice is in place before Congress breaks for its long summer recess. “If I end up having more than one nominee, I am pretty confident that it would be reflective of some diversity,— he said.

Obama’s conversation with Scully, which will air on C-SPAN again at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, covered not just the Supreme Court, but health care, the auto industry and life as a family in the White House as well.

Asked what has changed between the failed health care reform efforts of 1993 and today, Obama said he believed that escalating health care costs meant that businesses were more aware than ever that they were at a competitive disadvantage with their overseas counterparts.

“I think the biggest change politically is that businesses now recognize that if we don’t get a handle on this stuff that they are going to continue to be operating at a competitive disadvantage with other countries,— Obama said. “And so they anxiously seek serious reform.

Although he said that “the stars may be aligned here,— he conceded that it would be “very difficult— to get a bill passed.

The president defended the massive cash infusion into the country’s banking system, adding that “in the same way, our auto industry is the foundation for economies all across the Midwest, and ultimately, for the country as a whole.

“[Had] we allowed GM or Chrysler simply to liquidate that would have been a huge anti-stimulus on the economy as a whole, and could have dragged us even deeper into recession or even depression.—

Ultimately, he added, “I think that GM is going to be a strong company and we are going to be pulling out as soon as the economy recovers and they’ve completed their restructuring.—

Obama also discounted suggestions that living in the White House was a pressure-cooker existence for his family, especially with the historical significance as the nation’s first African-American president.

“We don’t feel a lot of stress,— he told Scully. “We don’t think in those terms. We think in terms of Mom and Dad and kids, and now a dog, and how do you make sure that your kids are doing their homework, brushing their teeth, treating each other nicely.—