The Supreme Court election of 2016
The average age of the Supreme Court Justices is 69. The four conservatives, Scalia, Roberts, Thomas and Aiello, average 68 – the same as the four liberals, Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor. Swing voter Anthony Kennedy is 78.
Scalia (1986) and Kennedy (1988) were Reagan appointees. Thomas (1991) was appointed by George H. Bush. Ginsburg (1993) and Breyer (1994) were Clinton appointees. Roberts (2005) and Alito (2006) were appointed by G.W. Bush. Sotomayor (2009) and Kagan (2010) were Obama appointees.
Assuming the 2016 president will be in office for eight years – the pattern over the last 30 years – he/she will likely nominate three, four or five individuals to the high court. This will have a great bearing on the direction our nation heads for a generation. The mid-term elections will also be very important – especially in determining which party controls the Senate as this body must “advise and consent” any nominee. Many – perhaps most – major controversial decisions are decided by a 5/4 vote.
It will be interesting to see what influence “money” has on the outcome. Vast sums have been poured into elections since the court ruled “Money is Speech.” Both liberals and conservatives have spent billions in an effort to influence voters.
My guess is the winner this time will be the side that controls the new social media playing field – Facebook, Email, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp and many more. It will also be greatly influenced by the party that best motivates its followers to vote.
The Democrats were more successful recently. I’ll bet the Republicans are doing everything they can to match or surpass the Democrats’ effort. Both sides have a lot to gain/lose in the next few years. Let the games begin.
John W. Merrick