Bench Memos

2012 and the Court

Darren Samuelsohn and Josh Gerstein have a piece in Politico examining the importance of the Supreme Court in the presidential election. As the authors note:

Four Supreme Court justices enter the next term in their 70s, and any changes during the next presidential term could tip the balance of the court on some of the nation’s hottest social issues, including same-sex marriage, civil rights and abortion.

The situation is actually far more interesting than that. A single change on the Court could change the outcome in cases on a range of other important issues: racial preferences, the protections afforded by the First and Second Amendments, property rights, and others that evade headlines but have a significant impact on our economy. And if you were disappointed with the Obamacare decision, just imagine what an Obama Court would do for the concept of limited, enumerated powers.

If President Obama is reelected, he could have the opportunity to appoint as many as three justices, maybe more, making him the first president since Eisenhower to appoint a majority of the justices on the Court. There are many reasons to oppose President Obama’s reelection, but keeping him from turning the Court into a rubber stamp for his agenda ought to be very high on the list for conservatives.   

Carrie Severino — Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director to the Judicial Crisis Network.

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