Dear Mr. President,
I know it is early in your administration to be asking you for favors, and up until now I have done my very best not to expect too much from you. You've inherited quite the mess, and the last few months have only added to it. Though I haven't agreed with everything you've done so far, I've understood why you did most of it, and have been trying very hard to remain hopeful and keep my desires to myself.
However, I heard some news this morning that forces me to break my silence and ask you to prove your advocates right and your detractors wrong in a decision you will soon be making.
Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter is retiring in June. This leaves a vacancy on the court for you to fill. Of all of the many decisions you will make during your presidency, this will likely be one of the most important and long-lasting. As a law professor, I'm sure you know just how vital it is not to mess this one up.
You'll be getting a lot of advice, from all sides, about how to best fill this position. You'll hear calls to be bipartisan (ignore them). You'll be hearing about the importance of a justice who will support X or Y reading of the constitution. You'll have a team to vet the credientials of any possible candidates. It will all be very complicated.
In comparison, what I am going to ask you to do is simple. There is only one criterion by which I don't trust you to choose the next justice, and it is that criterion I must insist you fill.
The next justice has to be a woman.
There are nine justice on the court. One of them shares the gender of half of the country's population. Over the entire history of the Court, there have been 110 justices; 2 have been women. It is far past time for the highest court in the land to better represent us.
As the country's first Black president, you know a little something about the importance of minority representation in goverment. As the man who defeated the most serious female presidential contender in our history, you know a little something about the importance of gender representation in goverment.
I am hoping that means you get it--you understand the importance, both symbolic and literal, of putting a woman on the court. And I'm expecting you to get it. I helped get you elected. So far, I am not at all sorry I did so. However, if you make some lame excuse about identity politics and appoint yet another man to fill this position, we are going to have a serious problem.
Your hopeful contituent,
P.S. If you are interested, you can read the post I wrote the last time I was failed on this issue.