While advocacy groups are pushing President Obama to seek diversity in his Supreme Court pick, a survey out this afternoon suggests that Americans care much more about legal experience.
Obama, who is to nominate a replacement for David Souter, is expected to pick a woman, perhaps the high court’s first Hispanic, and has talked himself about wanting someone with real-life experience. All current nine justices are former federal appeals court judges.
In the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, however, majorities said it is “not important at all” that Obama nominate a woman, an African American, or a Hispanic. A plurality, 32 percent, said it’s not important for the nominee to have experience in elected office.
But 67 percent of respondents said it’s important that the nominee has experience as a judge.
In terms of political ideology, 37 percent said they believed Obama should nominate a moderate, while 27 percent said someone who was very or somewhat liberal, and 35 percent said a nominee who was very or somewhat conservative. Also, 68 percent said they do not want to see the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established the right to abortions in the first three months of pregnancy.