I began my legal career working for Byron White, the last Coloradan to serve on the Supreme Court, and the only justice to lead the N.F.L. in rushing. He was one of the smartest and most courageous men I've ever known.
When Justice White retired, he gave me the chance to work for Justice Kennedy, as well. Justice Kennedy was incredibly welcoming and gracious, and like Justice White, he taught me so much. I am forever grateful. And if you've ever met Judge David Sentelle, you'll know just how lucky I was to land a clerkship with him right out of school.
Throughout my decade on the bench, I have watched my colleagues strive day in and day out to do just as Socrates said we should - to hear courteously, answer wisely, consider soberly, and decide impartially.
In the balance of my professional life, I've had the privilege of the working as a practicing lawyer and teacher.
Where trial-court and appeals-court nominees were once routinely confirmed on voice vote, they are now routinely subjected to ideological litmus tests, filibusters, and vicious interest-group attacks.
It would be a very good thing for all involved - the country, an independent judiciary, and the Left itself - if liberals take a page from David von Drehle and their own judges of the New Deal era, kick their addiction to constitutional litigation, and return to their New Deal roots of trying to win elections rather than lawsuits.