A storm is approaching as President Obama prepares to name a successor to the Supreme Court, after the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. As there are several pending cases before the court this year (think: abortion, immigration, affirmative action, religious rights) and the other eight Justices are usually evenly divided on issues, the choice of a new Justice is one that everybody is taking super seriously. Pessimists are worried that if Obama nominates a liberal candidate it will influence future rulings in favor of the Dems, but realists speculate that the Republican majority in the Senate will never let that happen.
For those living under a rock: it’s an election year. It’s also rare for a president to nominate someone for SCOTUS in their final year and many feel that Obama should leave the choice up to the next president (which Republicans hope will be one of their own), but others say the post should not be left empty for such a long time. Obama is well within his job requirements to fill the hot seat (and he has done twice in the past), but to avoid a lengthy delay in the confirmation process he will have to nominate a moderate, preferably someone who currently has the support of some Republicans.
What does this mean for the presidential race? With supreme power comes supreme responsibility. The ability to successfully nominate a Justice is one more criterion voters can use to evaluate the candidates, since the election winner could represent the future of SCOTUS, and thus the future of American rights and values. However in reality the advanced age of some of the other Justices means that the next president will likely face another vacancy, and the judicial landscape will continue to change.
Aiming for an assignment as an awesome attorney? Mandated movie for your mood: To Kill a Mockingbird