(CNN Student News) -- May 27, 2009
Supreme Court's Job - Consider the importance of a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Neighbors React - Explore the global response to a North Korean nuclear test.
New Home for Detainees? - Hear a debate about moving military detainees to Montana.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz. Why is one community considering importing prisoners? We'll lock down the details in today's show.
AZUZ: First up though, the president makes his pick for the open seat on the Supreme Court. Federal Appeals Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor will be the nominee, President Obama announcing his decision yesterday. If she's confirmed, Sotomayor will make history as the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice. She'd also be the third woman to serve on the high court. Sotomayor was named a district judge in 1992 and moved to her current position in 1998. One White House official says her judicial record displays integrity, intelligence and a commitment to the law. But Sotomayor has also faced criticism and claims that she has put her personal political agenda ahead of the law. Yesterday, she talked about the next steps in her nomination.
JUDGE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: I look forward to working with the Senate in the confirmation process. I hope that as the Senate and the American people learn more about me, they will see that I am an ordinary person who has been blessed with extraordinary opportunities and experiences. Today is one of those experiences.
AZUZ: Senate Republicans have promised to take a fair approach to that confirmation process. It's when lawmakers question the nominee and debate her qualifications. The confirmation is bound to get a lot of media attention. But why does it matter who sits on the Supreme Court?
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AZUZ: The U.S. Supreme Court is as high as it gets. It's more powerful than any other court in the nation. Its strength is in the hands of eight associate justices and one chief justice; its guidebook is the U.S. Constitution.
And it is that Constitution that makes it the president's job to nominate Supreme Court justices. But the president can't just staff it with people he likes. The Constitution has checks and balances, and in this case, the U.S. Senate has the power to confirm the president's nominee. No confirmation, no new justice.
But once someone is confirmed, the work begins. The judicial branch interprets U.S. law, and the decisions that these justices make affect everyone. What you can and can't say in school, there are limits on that, you know; how far school officials can go in searching you or your belongings; what Americans' rights are on controversial issues like guns and abortion; even whether TV shows are allowed to use cuss words!
All of these issues are decided by the high court, which means whoever's on the bench is important to all of us.
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Is This Legit?
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? China shares a border with North Korea. Legit! The border between the two countries runs for about 880 miles.
AZUZ: Right now, China is speaking out against its neighboring nation, and it is not the only one. Many Asian countries and the entire United Nations Security Council say North Korea's nuclear test on Monday broke international law. The criticism is especially interesting coming from China, because that happens to be North Korea's biggest ally! Emily Chang examines the global reaction.
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EMILY CHANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT, BEIJING: North Korea defies the international community yet again, surprising the world with the announcement of its second nuclear test. Most of the North's neighbors were quick to condemn the move, South Korea calling it a disappointment and a serious threat to regional peace.
HAN SUNG JOO, FORMER SOUTH KOREAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: They want to show to the world that they are capable of having and maybe even using the bomb before any negotiation can begin.
CHANG: In Japan, another country well within the reach of any North Korean nuclear missile, leaders called it "absolutely impermissible."
"If North Korea has conducted... the nuclear test, it would be a clear violation of the past U.N. Security Council resolutions, and we therefore express our deep and serious concern."
As for North Korea's key ally, China took hours to release a statement, saying, "The Chinese government expresses firm opposition to this. China calls on all parties to keep calm, deal with the situation appropriately, and to solve problems peacefully through discussions and dialogue."
China is the North's biggest trading partner; the two countries share a long border. Analysts say it's no surprise Beijing has endorsed a restrained approach.
VICTOR GAO, CHINA ANALYST: I think China has to bend backward to do whatever maneuvering and persuasion work as necessary. And I think China will continue to work in that particular direction, play a very constructive role with North Korea as well as with other members of the six-party talks in order to eventually help all of us to achieve the outcome of denuclearization.
CHANG: But China will have to convince the North to return to the bargaining table first. Pyongyang pulled out of the six-party talks on its nuclear program last month in protest against international condemnation after it testfired a rocket. When the North launched that rocket last April, China urged the world not to overreact. After North Korea conducted its first nuclear test in 2006, a more outspoken Beijing called it a "brazen act," and dragged North Korea back to the six-party talks in hopes of disarming through dialogue. But so far, it seems that dialogue has failed. Emily Chang, CNN, Beijing.
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ERIK NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Lawson's government classes at Chopticon High School in Morganza, Maryland. What U.S. state's nickname is Big Sky Country? Is it: A) North Dakota, B) Montana, C) Wyoming, or D) Texas? You've got three seconds -- GO! Montana is referred to as Big Sky Country; it's also known as the Treasure State. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: One Montana town wants to offer a home in Big Sky Country to military detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. You might remember that President Obama wants to close that facility, but Congress voted against the idea of transferring the prisoners to the United States. Jeanne Meserve explores why this town wants to bring the detainees to Montana, and why some residents are opposed.
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JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This could be Gitmo West. Right now, it's a prison with no prisoners in tiny Hardin, Montana. City officials want to fill it with detainees from Guantanamo Bay, terrorists like self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
GREG SMITH, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR: It would bring jobs. Believe it or not, it would even bring hope and opportunity.
MESERVE: This is the poorest county in Montana, and the $27 million prison has turned into a white elephant. But not everyone wants detainees here.
DARLEEN MCMILLEN, RESIDENT OF HARDIN, MONTANA: I would move out of Hardin. My son is in the military. He came back from Afghanistan. He says the people have no respect for any human life, even their own.
MESERVE: Some in the community worry that, if detainees were put here, they would attract other radicals to the area, or, even worse, escape.
SMITH: The person that wants to make it an issue, we would be happy to lock them up and see how long it takes them to come out. And then, if they can, I will buy them coffee at the coffee shop. Not a problem.
MESERVE: There are plenty of cameras and wiring for more, and row upon row of razor wire. They are even ready for trouble here. They have got gas masks and riot helmets, shields, batons. They even have guns. Because there are no prisoners, Glyn and Rae Perkins got laid off after moving to Hardin to take guard jobs. They oppose moving detainees here, even though it might mean getting their jobs back.
RAE PERKINS, FORMER PRISON GUARD: Bottom line, I just want the facility to open. But no, I don't really want Gitmo in my backyard.
MESERVE: But if Guantanamo is closed, detainees will have to go somewhere.
SMITH: Coming into a community that really wants them is going to be a lot easier than going into one that doesn't.
MESERVE: And this may be the only city in the country that's ready, willing and able to take them. Federal officials are on the hunt for somewhere to put the detainees, but Hardin hasn't heard from Washington, not yet. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Hardin, Montana.
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AZUZ: Alright, there are just a handful of shows left before we take off for the summer. As we get ready to wrap things up, we want to know what you think were the biggest stories of the school year. Head to our blog at CNNStudentNews.com, let us know your top picks and why you picked them. We'll run down some of your responses next week.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, a competition that's a real chin scratcher. Fantastic freestyle facial fashion! Or its less-stylized cousin, the boring full beard. Maybe a simple moustache is more to your liking. It all seems to drive the crowd wild. The World Beard and Moustache Championship actually has 17 official categories, from the Imperial to the Fu Manchu. This guy looks like he spent time on his beard and his hair, although his costume could have used a little work.
AZUZ: Either way, it a-beard to be a hair-raising experience. That shaves off the final seconds of today's show. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.