Supreme Court justices serve for decades and decades and decades. And they guide the direction of our country (Citizens United? Civil Rights Act? Roe v Wade?), without much interference from the Executive and Legislative branches.
So for of you on the extreme left of American politics, unhappy about last night, here’s something for you to contemplate re Obama’s victory:
While it is possible all five of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court justices will try to hold onto their seats until the end of the Obama presidency, death and the siren call of a well-funded pension plan may pull one or more of them off of the bench. That would give Obama the opportunity to swap in a left-leaning justice who could prevent Chief Justice John Roberts from obtaining a majority in the cases that divide conservatives and liberals — abortion, affirmative action and employee and property rights.
The justice who is most likely to leave the court during the second Obama presidency is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal who at age 79 is birdlike and frail, but hardly slacking off from her prodigious work habits. More worrisome to conservatives is Justice Antonin Scalia, tied with Justice Clarence Thomas as the most conservative judge on the high court (and a self-described “best buddy” with Ginsburg) who at 76…