It looks like US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens will retire at the end of this term. Justices usually hire their law clerks a year out and Stevens has hired only one for 2010. Active Justices usually hire 3 or 4, while retired Justices only have one. Assuming Stevens hasn't just had a harder time than usual picking out law clerks, his departure will be a fairly significant one. He's the last WASP on the US Supreme Court (WASP being an old acronym for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant male). In the interest of diversity, shouldn't Obama look for a WASP to replace him? Or should he go further and look specifically for a candidate among the most under represented group in US Supreme Court history? There's never been an Evangelical Christian appointed to the US Supreme Court. Facetiousness aside (since I think the chances of Obama nominating an Evagelical Christian are absolutely nil), I think it's safe to say Obama will nominate a "judicial activist" - or, less perjoratively, a person that feels the interpretation of the Constitution has to evolve over time, just as US culture evolves. He voted against Roberts (a strict textualist) being confirmed, and explained his pick of Sotomayor with: In other words, the effects of laws on common people today is more important than the original text of the Constitution. Figuring out how that nominee's background will affect their future rulings on specific issues is a little tougher - or is it? Sotomayor, Scalia, and Our Six Catholic Justices Scalia would argue that a USSC Justice should be a strict textualist and, therefore, his/her past life experience doesn't matter. O'Connor would argue that past life experiences, and therefore diversity, is very important to the USSC. I think I agree with O'Connor. It's naive not to believe a nominee's complete life experience, not just their law classes, will affect their rulings on the US Supreme Court. By the way, I don't agree with the conservative's definition of judicial activism, nor do I agree with strict textualism. I think judicial activism is when the US Supreme Court hands down a ruling that goes beyond what was necessary for the case the court was deciding. Roe v Wade would meet that definition, by the way, since the court ruled on issues that weren't even part of that particular case. I'm pretty sure that Roe was in the first trimester of her pregnancy at some time during her pregnancy, however, and that seemed enough for the majority of the USSC to hand down it's particular ruling (in fact, the court used the vagueness of the case as an excuse to rule on all possibilities instead of an excuse not to take the case in the first place).