Born Thursday 28 April 1960
I've led a school whose faculty and students examine and discuss and debate every aspect of our law and legal system. And what I've learned most is that no one has a monopoly on truth or wisdom. I've learned that we make progress by listening to each other, across every apparent political or ideological divide.
The Supreme Court, of course, has the responsibility of ensuring that our government never oversteps its proper bounds or violates the rights of individuals. But the Court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people.
I owe a debt of gratitude to two other living Justices. Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg paved the way for me and so many other women in my generation. Their pioneering lives have created boundless possibilities for women in the law. I thank them for their inspiration and also for the personal kindnesses they have shown me.
To have the opportunity to lead the Solicitor General's office is the honor of a lifetime. As you know, this is an office with a long and rich tradition, not only of extraordinary legal skill but also of extraordinary professionalism and integrity. That is due, in large measure, to the people who have led it.
In fact, corporate and union moneys go overwhelmingly to incumbents, so limiting that money, as Congress did in the campaign finance law, may be the single most self-denying thing that Congress has ever done.
It's not that there are no masters, but that there are many. And the job of the solicitor general is to balance those masters and to accommodate them all, each in their proper places, wisely and well and in so doing to represent the people of the United States.
I do not espouse the unitarian position. President Clinton's assertion of directive authority over administration, more than President Reagan's assertion of a general supervisory authority, raises serious constitutional questions.
When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public.
I think that if there are positions that you can't argue... then the responsibility is probably to resign. If one's own conscience is opposed to the requirements and responsibilities of the job, then it's time to leave the job.