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What do we need in judge?

As Congress prepares to begin debating the future of a judge who could serve in the nation’s highest court, we hope everyone involved doesn’t lose sight of the real issue — qualifications.

President Barack Obama has nominated Sonia Sotomayor to fill the Supreme Court Justice position that will be vacated by the retiring David Souter.

We have heard lots of lobbying on both sides. The court needs more women. The court needs more ethnic diversity that Sotomayor’s Hispanic heritage would bring. The court needs someone with more liberal or more conservative views. The list goes on and on.

But we hope no one gets too caught up in these ancillary issues and everyone stays focused on the real key: Her track record as a fair and impartial judicator.

Our highest judges must be the epitome of fair and balanced, weighing each and every case individually as they interpret the U.S Constitution.

We don’t need someone who is looking to legislate from the bench. We don’t need someone who allows his or her personal beliefs or views to take center stage. We don’t need someone who has a personal agenda or is looking to satisfy any individual interest groups.

Can Sotomayor be the judge our nation needs her to be? Probably. Much will be determined by how she handles the confirmation hearings and how her record stands up to intense scrutiny and evalution.

What seems to be clear about the woman is she has been a dedicated public servant who has shown a history of making the decisions she felt were correct under the guidelines of the law, despite what popular opinion may be or what people expected her to do.

But it will be opinion that will determine whether or not she takes the bench in the nation’s highest court.