~~May 6, 2016~~
SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
The Enormous, Unbelievable Stakes For The Supreme Court In 2016
Several justices are statistically likely to retire in the coming years. None of them have revealed plans to step down, and if all of them stick around through the end of Obama’s term, the 2016 presidential election could lead to a cataclysmic reshaping of the Supreme Court, and with it the country.
As of Election Day in 2016, three of the nine justices will be more than 80 years old. A fourth will be 78.
The average retirement age for a Supreme Court justice is 78.7, according to a 2006 study by the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
“Appointments to the Supreme Court are always extraordinary consequential.
But certainly under the circumstances, considering the age of a number of justices and the 5-4 splits in so many cases, it’s now more important than ever,” said Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society, a progressive legal advocacy group.
The modern Supreme Court is the most polarized along party lines in generations, having decided a host of deeply consequential issues by fragile 5 to 4 margins. That mirrors the increasingly political confirmation process and tendency of Democrats and Republicans to nominate judges that reflect their movement’s world view.
The replacement of even one justice, let alone several, could affect laws which have a profound impact on millions of Americans.
The Court’s conservative decisions on issues like campaign finance limits, voting rights and religious freedom would be prime candidates for revisiting if one conservative justice is replaced under a Democratic president.
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