Dean Calls on Bush to 'Follow Reagan's Example' in Picking Justice

By Randy Hall | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean Friday called on President Bush to "choose consensus over conflict" when selecting a nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court by following the example set when President Reagan picked Sandra Day O'Connor.

"All Americans today are united in expressing our gratitude to Justice O'Connor for her service to our country," Dean said in a prepared statement. "President Bush should choose to continue that unity."

Dean added that Bush "should follow the example established by President Reagan when he nominated Justice O'Connor." By doing so, "President Reagan had the courage to stand up to the right-wing extremists in his party by choosing a moderate, thoughtful jurist.

"A president faces no more important decision in terms of protecting the rights and liberties of all Americans than nominating a Supreme Court justice," Dean stated.

Bush "has a constitutional responsibility to do what presidents before him have done -- seek the advice of senators from both parties before making a nomination and choose a mainstream nominee who will protect our most important rights and freedoms," Dean added

"As the first woman on the court, Justice O'Connor is one of our nation's most important historical figures," he said. "Her retirement marks a truly significant moment.

"While we might not have agreed with all of her decisions, she has been a voice of moderation whose career was marked by a commitment to placing the law ahead of partisanship and ideology," Dean stated. "It is crucial that the next Supreme Court justice bring this philosophy to the highest court in the land.

"Americans deserve a dignified process, one that puts our democracy and the rights of all Americans ahead of partisanship and ideology," he said. "Democrats hope this process can be one of consensus, rather than confrontation, but that will be up to President Bush."

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