Similarly, Senator Arlen Specter has announced that:
I would like to see somebody with broader experience . . . We have a very diverse country. We need more people to express a woman's point of view or a minority point of view, Hispanic or African American . . . somebody who's done something more than wear a black robe for most of their lives.Senator Harry Reid "hopes that Obama goes outside the existing legal system and finds a former governor or senator, or someone who has 'real life experiences.'"
And Obama himself has said:
I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook . . . It's also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives -- whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.Senator Orrin Hatch, who like Specter and Leahy sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says that Obama will probably make the selection very quickly -- perhaps even before the end of this week. If President Obama will soon make his announcement, it is very likely that all of the Senate chatter about "life experience" represents talking points designed to create a narrative about the nominee. Stay tuned.
The comments from these guys, espousing the virtues of nontraditional candidates, are somewhat amusing. Leahy, for example, has spent nearly 1/2 of his life in the Senate, first winning election in 1974.
Specter was first elected to the Senate in 1980. He has served in the Senate longer than any other person in Pennsylvania history. He is also the fifth-oldest person in the Senate. Furthermore, he recently switched parties in order to maximize the possibility that he will keep his job.
Reid began his career in Nevada politics in 1967. He became of member of the House of Representatives in 1982, and he became a Senator in 1987, a position he continues to hold. If voters applied the standards that these Senators want Obama to use when selecting a replacement for Souter, it is unclear whether either them would remain Senators.