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CBS Local Presidential Forum: Obama/Romney: Debate Supreme Court Nominees

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President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. (Getty Images/Luke Sharrett and Joe Raedle)

President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney. (Getty Images/Luke Sharrett and Joe Raedle)

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By Carol Cain CBS 62 Detroit

With four of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices in their 70s and the next president in the position of possibly shaping the future of affirmative action, gay rights, abortions, and more with appointments he might make should any openings occur, the question of what kind of nominee he might put forth was posed to President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney in the CBS Local President Forum.

The exclusive CBS Local forum is posing 10 questions on vital issues to the candidates so people can learn more about the men, their policies and outlook for the nation.

Today: Picking the Supreme Court

“I will appoint judges who have outstanding qualifications and are of exemplary character,” answered Romney. “ My judicial nominees will exhibit a genuine appreciation for the text, structure, and history of our Constitution, will interpret the Constitution and the laws as they are written, and will possess a demonstrated record of adherence to these core principles. “

Obama appointed Justice Sonia Sotomayor – the first Latina to serve – and Justice Elena Kagan during his first term.

Regarding future nominees, Obama said he would look for individual with an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, and a dedication to the rule of law. He added he would seek someone who understands that justice is not just about abstract legal theories but how laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives – whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation.

The two candidates were also asked in the CBS Local forum why women should vote for them.

“There is a common misconception that female voters care about different issues, or that they want candidates to treat them as an interest group looking for political favors,” said Romney. “In my experience traveling around the country and talking with thousands of voters, I have found that women care about the exact same issues as men: good jobs and a growing economy, getting our debt under control, strengthening our health care and education systems, protecting our interests and standing by our allies around the world.”

“So while the President seeks to divide Americans, scare them with untrue accusations, and offer special programs to win their votes, I am focused on an agenda that will help all Americans,” Romney said.

Obama said the first bill he signed after being elected president was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which helps women fight back when they don’t receive equal pay for equal work.

He added that the health care reform law, which requires insurance companies to cover recommended preventive care like cancer screenings, flu shots and contraception without out of pocket costs, also is something women voters might now know.

Coming up: President Barack Obama and Gov, Mitt Romney answer: What’s the most inaccurate thing your opponent has said, or mischaracterization he has made about you, in this campaign?

(Carol Cain is an Emmy winning journalist who has covered politics and business over 20 years. She is Senior Producer/Host of CBS62’s “Michigan Matters” and writes a column on politics and business for Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at clcain@cbs.com).

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