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Beyond World Cup soccer savvy, US should look to South Africa on Supreme Court nominations

International guidance helped strengthen US soccer. It could improve the US Supreme Court nomination process, too.

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South Africa is about to host the World Cup, the most watched sporting event in the world. Nations will compete to determine the world’s best soccer team.

Despite its size, the US is not very good at soccer. In fact, until recently, the US didn’t even have a team that could contend internationally. Now, a common refrain is how the US should borrow certain approaches used by foreign teams in order to get better.

But soccer isn’t the only arena in which the US should be borrowing strategy from overseas. The US Supreme Court confirmation process is broken. Its many shortcomings will once again get full scrutiny now that President Obama has nominated Solicitor General Elena Kagan for the Supreme Court.

Readers weigh in on World Cup

As with soccer, the US would benefit from the judicial system experiences of other countries, especially South Africa.

South Africa has adopted an approach to selecting judges for its highest court that ensures the seating of highly competent jurists without the extreme politicization that characterizes the US process.

Political polarization has turned the process into a bloodbath where a nominee’s every word, even if spoken decades before, is scrutinized to find ammunition for potential opponents.

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