I have a complicated relationship with the Supreme Court, which is, for me, always the most elusive of the federal branches. When I was younger, and if possible, more opinionated than I am now, my dream job was Supreme Court justice. Due to my precocious nature and vocal desire to wear those awesome black robes when I got older, I was inundated with children’s books about the history of the court and its justices. My biography of former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor became well worn. She was a cowgirl renegade, a trailblazer for women and an integral, moderate member of the Court.

O’Connor and I, along with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, share a strong connection: a deep abiding love of Nancy Drew. As a child, I used to poke through my grandparents’ basement, seeking out hidden boxes full of my four aunts’ Nancy Drews, with their old-fashioned, crumbling covers and yellow pages. This was the titian-haired Nancy, still chastely dating Ned Nickerson, not considering college, but admirably sassy and prone to getting into and out of danger. Unlike the Hardy Boys — the detective series my male cousins preferred — Nancy only called the police after she had solved the case and often had to escape from trunks of cars or locked rooms herself. She was smarter than the police, and she knew it. As long as her blue convertible and sidekicks Bess and George were around, Nancy seemed equipped to handle any case and search out any clue.

It can’t be a coincidence that every female Supreme Court justice has acknowledged her debt to Nancy Drew, and the many women who ghostwrote the series. I hope that President Obama takes the opportunity of the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens and the rumored retirement of Ginsburg to nominate a justice who embodies the best qualities of Nancy Drew: intuition, bravery and an ability to ask for help when she needs it.

However, it seems that the demographic makeup of the Court has become more important than its experiential makeup. The importance of having justices that represent the diversity of the American population cannot be denied. A diversity of opinions and backgrounds on the bench is the only way to ensure that the decisions handed down are not based on politics but instead on an understanding of the laws of this country. While the court has traditionally been composed of white men, in recent decades the diversity has increased. That said, Obama should suggest nominees that have a successful career as their primary appeal.

Nancy Drew’s status as the wealthy white daughter of a successful lawyer often have her a leg-up in her investigations, but if she didn’t have gumption and integrity as a sleuth, she would never have solved a single case. Supreme Court justices may be nominated for a wide variety of reasons, some due to race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, but their decisions should always show integrity and intelligence.

I would be disappointed if Obama’s nominee was qualified only on the basis of her gender or race, a repeat of the Harriet Miers squabble after O’Connor announced her retirement. Obama has a unique opportunity to replace two, if not three, justices in the course of one term, and there will be a temptation to nominate “firsts” — the first openly gay justice, the first Asian-American justice — without acknowledging the qualities that make a justice so important in the first place. When Nancy Drew was solving a case by herself it didn’t matter what her skin color was or the fact that she wore skirts, what mattered was her natural ability to find the truth, no matter how hidden it may be. I hope that the new members of our Supreme Court will share that talent.

Whitney McAniff is a sophomore in the College. The 52 Percent appears every other Monday at thehoya.com.

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