The Federalist Society

List of Possible Queries to State Supreme Court Justice Nominees

  1. Among 20th Century Supreme Court justices, is there one whose work you especially admire? Who? Which of his opinions do you hold in the highest regard?
  2. What, in your opinion, is the distinction between a judge "doing justice" and "doing justice under the law"?
  3. If our United States Constitution contained no Bill of Rights, how effective would it be in protection individual rights and liberties?
  4. Please describe in your own mind the distinction between a "fair" criminal trial and a "perfect" criminal trial? Why should a criminal defendant be entitled to anything less than the latter?
  5. Whether in the context of judicial nominations within the Congress, or academic discussions, the National has witnessed a continuing debate in recent years about the proper role of the judicial branch. This debate has variously described as one concerning 'judicial activism' or 'judicial restraint'. How would you describe this debate in your own words and what are your own perspectives? What are the most compelling arguments of those who disagree with your perspective and how would you respond to them?
  6. When the Constitution refers to the court's exercise of the "judicial power", what specifically is it referring to?
  7. Whether one agrees or disagrees with what has occurred in this process, virtually all observers of the criminal justice system would agree that it has been sharply transformed by judicial decisions over the past thirty years. Some commentators have expressed concern that this transformation has diluted the traditional 'search for the truth' in the courtroom. Would you have any perspectives one way or the other in this regard?
  8. How does a state judge determine when the common law should be maintained and when it should evolve?
  9. Assume that our State adopts a civil service or public employment test which is purely merit-based, and in which the highest scoring candidates receive positions-except that bonus points are given to veterans. Assume further that a female job candidate has been denied a position exclusively because a male veteran has received the advantage of this bonus. She sues on 'equal protection' grounds and argues that a disproportionate number of candidates who receive the benefit of this bonus are males. What are some of the considerations that you would bring to bear in attempting to analyze this matter?
  10. Assume that our State has a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of "marital status." Assume further that an employer adopts an anti-nepotism policy and, pursuant to this, denies employment to a female job applicant on the basis that her husband is already employed there. Assume that another employer denies employment to a female job applicant on the basis that she is married, or denies employment to a male job applicant on the basis that he is not married. How would you determine which of these situations is within the scope of the statutory provision?
  11. What is the difference between judicial decisionmaking and legislative decisionmaking?
  12. When you retire from the bench, how would you define what you would like your legacy to be? How would you like thoughtful people to summarize your work on the court?


The Federalist Society