In respect to his nomination of justices for the Supreme Court, President Reagan, who is a stubborn and arrogant old man, twice thumbed his nose at the Senate and at the people of the United States. He has shown himself to be not merely partisan, but also to have been ruled by the radical right in his own party, which in many ways, in its present form, was dragged into the party by Reagan himself.
In respect to his first serious nomination, that of Judge Kennedy, nominated by the President as President of the United States and not merely of the radical right, there are several matters to be considered, aside from the candidate's probity, experience and preparation.
In the first place, the man or faction, who nominates the justice, has no further control over a man who is confirmed. This new responsibility often reforms the justice and turns him onto unforeseen paths. This is altogether fitting and proper.
In the second place, it is pertinent to consider that justice who first made the Supreme Court a viable entity and an equal partner in our system of checks and balances. The very distinguished jurist, John Marshall (1755-1835), chief justice for 35 years, while demonstrating every quality that is desirable in a judge at any level, also built into the Constitution the outmoded federalism. During his tenure he convinced of his views and dominated all new appointees, to the despair of his detractors, notably President Andrew Jackson.
The selection of a justice of the Supreme Court is a very serious matter. The candidate must really satisfy both the Administration and the Senate, and be acceptable to us, the people.
CHARLES J. MOOLICK