Top election issue: Supreme Court, not the economy

  • Article by: NOAH FELDMAN , Bloomberg News
  • Updated: November 2, 2012 - 7:45 PM

The outcome of this year's presidential race could have a dramatic impact on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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mockingyouNov. 2, 12 7:51 PM

haven't they been saying this for the past, say, 100 years? as long as i've been living anyway. and yet all the votes are 5-4 and our country is still alive.

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pumiceNov. 2, 12 8:14 PM

Re: "[A]ll the votes are 5-4..." Not so, mockingyou. The Roberts Court has decided about 21.5% of its cases by a 5-to-4 majority. That's just a smidge more than than the Rehnquist Court which decided 20.5% of its cases 5-4. It's interesting to see which Justices always vote together....

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erikj3Nov. 2, 12 8:37 PM

The thought of Willard Rmoney nominating far, far right judges to the Court is just terrifying. This itself is reason enough to vote for Obama (along with about 5000 other reasons).

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hobie2Nov. 2, 12 8:46 PM

A factoid about the Supreme Court that goes to who appoints who- historically, "liberal" and "conservative" justices are almost always defined by how they view the Ninth Amendment -which basically says "All rights not listed herein are reserved to the people". Justices who view that amendment as meaning what it says interpret it liberally (lots) and are called liberal. Justices who say it can't be interpreted and has little value as an amendment interpret it in a restricted manner (conservatively). That is why liberal supreme courts have protected individual rights over government and business, and conservative supreme courts have generally ruled for government and business over individuals... The individual protections we take for granted were put in place by liberal courts, and we have not had one of those for 40 or so years... The court has all conservatives now, and the two candidates will appoint more conservative justices. The only difference will be how conservative - a Scalia who says the Ninth was a mistake and the only rights are what are listed, or a Ginsburg who says the ninth has a narrow meaning... You are not going to get a justice like in the 1950s and 60s who will say the Ninth means just what it says and the constitution protects the people's rights, listed or not.

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arspartzNov. 2, 12 9:02 PM

So in other words, we have no good choices. Obama will appoint justices who will grow the power of the government for the fiscal good of the few at the expense of the freedom of the others, Romney will appoint justices who will grow the power of the government for the moral good of the people at the expense of the freedom of the others. It's a lose lose deal.

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wdntyouknwNov. 2, 1210:49 PM

arspartz, I think you got Obama and Romney flipped there. The phrase "will grow the power of the government for the fiscal good of the few" pretty much sums up Romney's entire political agenda.

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pumiceNov. 2, 1211:54 PM

Re: "The phrase 'will grow the power of the government for the fiscal good of the few' pretty much sums up Romney's entire political agenda." Not only Romney-Ryan, wdntyouknw--pretty much every Koch-kowtowing, Reagan-revering, Grover-groveling Republican. Add "If anyone's picking winners and losers, it should be us--the few, the wealthy, and the powerful" to "For the fiscal good of the few", and you have the Ayn Rand-brand of Republican ideology....

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sunnyreaderNov. 3, 1212:21 AM

The next president will have a chance at getting a court that can overturn the Citizen's United decision that unleashed this years reign of negative campaigns on all of us. I have more hope that Obama will do that, than Romney.

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arspartzNov. 3, 12 3:43 AM

"I think you got Obama and Romney flipped there. The phrase "will grow the power of the government for the fiscal good of the few" pretty much sums up Romney's entire political agenda." The GOP is not TAKING anything from the noble "poor" They are simply GIVING less. OTH, Obama and his people can't stop talking about making the "rich" PAY their fair share. It is not the role of the government to redistribute wealth with the goal of fairness. Nor is it the role of government to ensure equality of outcome.

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northhillNov. 3, 12 7:29 AM

Richard Nixon appointed four Supreme Court Justices in his first term as President.In 1973 the Supreme Court heard Roe vs Wade.Chief Justice Warren Burger and Justices Powell and Blackmun voted to affirm along with Eisenhower appointees Stewart and Brennen.Roosevelt appointee Douglas and Johnson appointee Marshall also voted to affirm.Kennedy appointee White and Nixon appointee Rehnquist voted not to affirm Roe vs Wade.Presidents learn to their sorrow that Supreme Court Justices don't always vote the way the President wants.Chief Justice Roberts taught George W Bush a lesson he and the Republicans will never forget this year.We do have an independent judiciary in America and lets keep it that way.

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