As everyone knows by now, Judge Sonia Sotomayor is President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court of the United States (aka “SCOTUS”). No professional experience – not even serving as a judge in the Southern District of New York nor on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals – can fully prepare a person to be one of the nine people in our country who “say what the law is.” So, how does one fully prepare?
Soon after assuming the throne, King Solomon had a dream in which the Lord appeared to him and said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Rather than asking for wealth or a long life, Solomon asked for a “discerning heart to govern [the Lord's] people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” He then said, “For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord graciously granted his request.
As his first exercise, Solomon confronted a difficult task. Two prostitutes from the same brothel brought a baby before him – each claiming to be the baby’s mother. King Solomon found a wise solution:
Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”
The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”
Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.” When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they say that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.
Solomon was able to judge wisely because God was his resource for wisdom. The answer to his rhetorical question (“For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”) is clear: the governing of the Lord’s people must be done by God alone. So, let us pray for Judge Sotomayor – that she, like Solomon, would desire a discerning heart to govern over the people and to distinguish between right and wrong.