One thing I’m surprised didn’t get more attention during the Presidential campaign – honestly, I can’t recall it being mentioned more than in passing – is the impact the next President will have on the US Supreme Court. Consider the ages of the Justices now that Barack Obama has been elected:
- John Paul Stevens, age 88
- Ruth Bader Ginsberg, age 75
- Antonin Scalia, age 72
- Anthony Kennedy, age 72
- Stephen Breyer, age 70
- David Souter, age 69
- Clarence Thomas, age 60
- Samuel Alito, age 58
- John Roberts (Chief Justice), age 53
Unfortunately 3 of the 4 more right-wing members of the court are age 60 or under. But I wonder if John Paul Stevens has been waiting for this election to retire, while the other 5 Justices are certainly at the age that they might consider retiring in the next four years the way Sandra Day O’Connor did. And if Obama wins reelection in 2012, well, it’s conceivable that he could end up with 4 or 5 or maybe even 6 appointments.
(Okay, honestly I expect Scalia will remain on the Court until he croaks, but we can hope, can’t we?)
Given the disastrous results of the Reagan and Bush appointments to the Court, it would be wonderful if Obama had the opportunity to transform it back into something more reasonable.