Mixed views voiced about Souter

By Rebecca Bahr

NIU law enthusiasts voiced mixed feelings about Supreme Court Justice Nominee David Souter, a man insistent about keeping his personal views on hot topics like abortion to himself.

Ed Stapleton, a 26-year-old law student, said justices should not have to reveal their personal feelings on issues.

“A Supreme Court justice’s job is to uphold the constitution, and regardless of personal opinion, or how backward the guy may seem, if his rulings and reasonings are sound, there is no problem with the appointment,” Stapleton said.

But others think Souter’s conservative views are obvious, regardless of whether he chooses to declare his beliefs officially.

“It’s dangerous when someone appointed to the Supreme Court has a clear political agenda,” said Wendy Larson, 38, a third year law student.

NIU Law Professor Lawrence Schlam said, “It is my feeling that there are a number of more experienced federal judges who would have been better candidates.”

Schlam and others in the law school questioned the administration’s knowledge of Souter’s views.

Souter held firm in his unwillingness to give his stance on major issues during Thurday’s hearings in Washington.

He was not forced to disclose his views before the committee on the basis that it is unethical to discuss cases that might come before him.

A number of liberal groups have come out in opposition to Souter’s appointment. The U.S. Student Association—citing his past rulings on rape, abortion and civil rights cases—said Souter’s record shows a lack of respect for basic constitutional protections.

The Supreme Court has been divided in recent years with 5-4 rulings on many controversial issues. Conservatives are hopeful that Souter’s judgement will clearly lean to the right if he is appointed.

Souter is expected to meet the approval of the Senate Judiciary Committee.