Andrew Sullivan has dug up a wonderful passage by Alexander Hamilton from the Federalist Papers (no.76). Hamilton’s subject: the role of the Senate in confirming Presidential appointments:
“To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity.”
Read the whole thing. As Sully points out, “Someone who needs a ‘crash course’ on constitutional law should not be selected to be a Supreme Court Justice”.