“To judge,” according to my old Webster Collegiate Dictionary (from the Latin “judicare”) is “to form an opinion about, through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises … to determine or pronounce after inquiry and deliberation.”
After the sad demise of Justice Scalia, it would seem that the rancorous debate regarding a “balanced court” with either a liberal or conservative characterization misses an important step. The act of “judging,” as exemplified in the definition, implies a moment in time of indecision — impartiality where all the balls are in the air, so to speak. If this (these) moment(s) of free fall do not exist, it would then logically follow that in the case of a 5-4 court balance, we would not need “judges” to “weigh, test and deliberate.” If minds are made up, predisposition reigns and we could simply count heads.
Is our thinking so stylized and systematic that if any one of us were appointed to the highest court in the land, we could count on (and predict) the outcome of our decisions most assuredly? Would that precious moment of objectivity, deliberation and indecision not exist? Would we spend our time simply justifying what we think we already know, totally disregarding the process?
Admittedly, a truly objective person devoid of personal prejudice may not exist, but surely there are degrees in selecting the ideal candidate(s) … and let us pray he (she) is waiting in the wings.