Main | Tuesday, December 02, 2008

SCOTUS Speculations

Over at AmericaBlog, John Aravosis notes the ages of the members of the Supreme Court.
John Paul Stevens, 88 (Ford)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75 (Clinton)
Antonin Scalia, 72 (Reagan)
Anthony Kennedy, 72 (Reagan)
Stephen Breyer, 70 (Clinton)
David Souter, 69 (GHW Bush)
Clarence Thomas, 60 (GHW Bush)
Samuel Alito, 58 (GW Bush)
John Roberts, 53 (GW Bush)

Only 2 of the 9 were chosen by a Democrat.
The Austin Statesman speculates:
Currently, the nine-member Supreme Court is stacked almost evenly ideologically. Four justices - Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts - tend to stand together as conservatives. Four others - John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer - are liberal. The tie-breaking vote often belongs to Anthony Kennedy, who is considered a centrist, although he more often votes with the conservatives on the court.

The speculation has centered mostly on the aging liberals and whether the 88-year-old Stevens, the 75-year-old Ginsburg, the 70-year-old Breyer and the 69-year-old Souter are ready to retire.

Kennedy, who has twice had minor heart procedures, is 72, as is Scalia. But the other conservatives are relatively young - Roberts is 53, Alito 58 and Thomas 60 - and could remain on the court for decades to come. As a result, liberals say the appointments Obama could make to the court are crucial. "Over the next four years - President-elect Obama -can restore fairness and respect for core constitutional values to our nation's courts," said Nan Aron, president of the liberal Alliance for Justice, a Washington group that tries to influence legal and public policies.
Barring unforeseen health issues, three out of the four conservatives on the Court are here to stay, possibly for decades. And three of the four liberals may be ready to go. Obama has his work cut out for him.

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