For as long as we can remember, the U.S. Supreme Court has included at least one military veteran. Recent examples include Republican-appointed Chief Justice William Rehnquist who died in 2005, and Justice John Paul Stevens, who has just resigned. The Democrats have not placed a veteran on the Supreme Court in nearly half a century. When President Obama fills Justice Stevens' seat, will the High Court be left without anyone who has military experience? Veterans in the U.S. Senate should make sure that such an embarrassment does not occur. Cases concerning the military reach the Supreme Court every year, and our nation will not be well-served by a Court totally lacking in military experience.Justice Stevens himself declared in a recent interview, "Somebody was saying that there ought to be at least one person on the Court who had military experience. . . I sort of feel that it is important. I have to confess that." Stevens is a liberal, but he loves our nation as veterans do. In 1989 in the case called Texas v. Johnson, Stevens dissented when the Supreme Court by 5-to-4 okayed a so-called free-speech right to burn the American flag. Stevens wrote in dissent: "The case has nothing to do with 'disagreeable ideas.' It involves disagreeable conduct that, in my opinion, diminishes the value of an important national asset."
Obama's disdain for the military is no secret, and the leading names on his short list for possible Supreme Court appointment are anti-military. The number of veterans in Congress has declined to about 21%, but that's enough for them to make a public demand that High Court diversity include a veteran.
The Senate should not allow Obama to replace the last decorated veteran on the Supreme Court with a non-veteran. The men and women who risk their lives for our nation's security deserve better.
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