Breyer and Thomas on the new Supreme Court Justice

The two justices say what they want in a replacement for Stevens.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Supreme Court judges don't like talking about the politics of potential new members, but they have some advice for what kind of temperament President Obama should look for as he replaces retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. At a recent House hearing, Justice Stephen Breyer suggested an older judge because the work can be boring, the life sedentary. Imagination is key, too. "You have what I would call a certain kind of imagination. You have to be able to think yourself beyond the room into the lives of the people whom these decisions will actually affect," he says. Finally, plan on sticking around "long-term" so presidents can't pack the court, says Stephens. Justice Clarence Thomas wants somebody who the other judges can get along with and "an honest person, a person who is conscientious...a capable, good person." What's more, he likes diversity in the backgrounds of court colleagues. "I don't think it matters as much what the experience is as long as it's experience making decisions, and hard decisions," says Thomas.

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