What the U.S. Public Wants in a High Court Judge

To find out what Americans want in a Supreme Court justice, we hear from people on the street in Philadelphia, just a block away from the federal courthouse where Samuel Alito has served for the last 15 years.

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Along with public officials and other leaders, average Americans have had plenty to pique their interest in the Supreme Court in recent days. We went to Philadelphia, just a block from the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals, where Judge Samuel Alito has served for the last 15 years, and we asked people what they want in a Supreme Court justice.

Mr. JOHN CASCO(ph): A person on the Supreme Court? Well, I think they would have to had to dealt with such issues in real life and walk amongst the people, basically.

Ms. MARIA ANDERSON: I'm looking for someone who will be absolutely true to the Constitution. I really don't care about their politics as long as they deliver unbiased, fair opinions.

Mr. ANDRE DAVIS: It doesn't matter who they are or what they come from; be honest and be fair to every human being.

Ms. KATRINA DURHAM(ph): Hmm. What kind of ...(unintelligible) am I looking for? I'm very concerned about Roe vs. Wade. It's important to have more of a liberal in.

Ms. KIM HERSHBERG(ph): A person who does have judge experience, I think, is very important for the job, someone who's actually not coming in with preconceived ideas.

Mr. KAMAL NANCE(ph): In the next Supreme Court justice? One that's waking up, one that's going to be able to ...(unintelligible) the serious issues that are going on in our country right now.

Mr. EARL SPOMMER(ph): Just between you and me, keep Sandra Day O'Connor.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BLOCK: Opinions sampled in front of the Liberty Bell Pavilion in Philadelphia. We heard from John Casco, Maria Anderson, Andre Davis, Katrina Durham, Kim Hershberg, Kamal Nance and Earl Spommer.

You can read and hear more reactions to Judge Alito's nomination at npr.org.

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