Despite recent cries from Democrats that President Bush nominate a Justice who "unifies" America, I haven't been able to find any mention of such a criteria in the Constitution. Aside from that, I'm not even sure why anyone thinks a Supreme Court Justice should be expected to "unify" Americans, considering that they have almost no public role and shouldn't be making decisions based on popular positions or inclinations.
"In 1990, a Democrat-controlled Senate unanimously confirmed Judge Alito as a circuit judge," Mr. Frist said in a statement dispatched 27 minutes before President Bush announced his selection. "I hope that my colleagues will give his nomination a fair opportunity this time as well."
Moments later, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat and member of the Judiciary Committee, took to the ramparts opposite Mr. Frist.
"It is sad that the president felt he had to pick a nominee likely to divide America instead of choosing a nominee in the mold of Sandra Day O'Connor, who would unify us," he said. "This controversial nominee, who would make the court less diverse and far more conservative, will get very careful scrutiny from the Senate and from the American people."
Senators and Representatives certainly make no attempt to "unify" any citizenry who aren't in their legislative districts, and their success at "unification" is measured only once every few years when there's an election. I've never heard a politician standing for election claim that he's hoping to "unify" the electorate and receive 100% of the vote, or 90%, or even 80%. Even presidential candidates often write off entire states as unwinnable. Why should Supreme Court Justices be expected to "unify" anyone?
It's nice for everyone to be in agreement, but in politics the likelyhood of such comity is inversely proportional to the importance of the issue at hand. Even after 9/11 it barely took a month for Democrats to begin undermining the President, and many of their constituents agreed with them; however, enough disagreed that the Republicans were able to gain a majority in the Senate, thus meeting the Constitutional requirement for decision-making.
Even aside from the absurdity of applying the "unity" standard to Supreme Court Justices, "unity" is a fabricated goal generally advocated by those who can't cross the 50% + 1 line that's needed to get their agenda enacted. For some reason, calls for "unity" always assume that the majority should yield to the minority for the sake of fraternity rather than the other way around. If Senator Schumer wants America to be unified behind a Supreme Court nominee, then why doesn't he surrender his ideology and lead his peers in support of Judge Alito? If he's unwilling to do so, they why should he expect the President to surrender his ideology when making a nomination?