Transcript: Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen

Now conservatives are saying we don't want activist judges, we want judges who will defer to the political branches of government. The problem is the worst case since Dred Scott arguably was deferring to Franklin Roosevelt as a wartime leader in interning 110,000 Japanese-American citizens. The case that offends most conservatives recently came out of New London, Connecticut, wherein the democratically elected City Council using its eminent domain power took property away from people, gave it to businesses because they would pay higher taxes and that was deference again. What the conservatives really wanted in both cases was more activism.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You've given so much to chew on. Let's start with the first part first. Your take on the president. Because I saw both Donna and E.J.'s eyebrows raise as you started to talk about the president. Donna, you go first.

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think the president is looking for somebody with a sharp legal mind but also someone who understands how the law applies to everyday people in their struggle.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And there's nothing wrong with that.

BRAZILE: Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I mean all you have to do is look back at the Lily Ledbetter case to understand you want someone who understands the law but how it applies to people in everyday life. Here's Lily Ledbetter working for 20 years not knowing she's underpaid and the Supreme Court basically looked at her case and said, it's your fault you didn't know that you were being underpaid, so I think he is looking for someone who can both crystallize the law but understand how it applies to everyday people.

DAVID BROOKS, "NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I would say first we want somebody with reverence to the Constitution. And I think that's what George is getting at. It's not a question of how powerful or unpowerful, we want somebody with reverence for that document. I think we're going to have a big fight here. Because what we know about what President Obama wants? He believes that John Roberts is much more conservative than he led on at his hearings, he thinks John Roberts is much more aggressive especially on civil rights issues like Lily Ledbetter than people are aware so he wants someone who is a powerful counterforce like Sonia Sotomayor. So I think that issue which brings in the New Haven firefighters case which they studied hard for a test, passed the test and that had the results of that test overruled ...

STEPHANOPOULOS: The test was ruled invalid.

BROOKS: Invalid because not enough minorities also cleared that bar. That is going to set up a big fight. As I talked to senators, Republican senators right now, they don't want a fight but I think they're going to get dragged into it. STEPHANOPOULOS: They want a debate but not necessarily a fight. And E.J., your top candidate, you think is someone who can actually bridge the differences.

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