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Potential End to Conservative Supreme Court


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http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2012/11/07/obama-victory-could-spell-end-of-conservative-supreme-court/

Obama Victory Could Spell End Of Conservative Supreme Court

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English: Supreme Court Associate Justice Anton...

Will he call it quits? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The decades-long campaign by conservatives to build a lasting majority on the U.S. Supreme Court may come to an end over the next four years, now that President Obama has apparently been reelected to the White House.

While it is possible all five of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court justices will try to hold onto their seats until the end of the Obama presidency, death and the siren call of a well-funded pension plan may pull one or more of them off of the bench. That would give Obama the opportunity to swap in a left-leaning justice who could prevent Chief Justice John Roberts from obtaining a majority in the cases that divide conservatives and liberals — abortion, affirmative action and employee and property rights.

The justice who is most likely to leave the court during the second Obama presidency is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal who at age 79 is birdlike and frail, but hardly slacking off from her prodigious work habits. More worrisome to conservatives is Justice Antonin Scalia, tied with Justice Clarence Thomas as the most conservative judge on the high court (and a self-described “best buddy” with Ginsburg) who at 76 has discussed retirement recently with various reporters.

“Of course I’ll retire,” he told CNN’s Piers Morgan in July. “Certainly I’ll retire when I — when I think I’m — I’m not doing as good a job as I used to. That — that will make me feel very bad.”

Justice Anthony Kennedy is also 76. The court’s swing vote has infuriated and enthused conservatives in practically equal measure since Ronald Reagan nominated him in 1987 to replace his failed first choice, ultraconservative Robert Bork. Kennedy has sided with the conservatives in many important cases recently, including his surprising (to me, anyway), vote against Obamacare this summer.

If Kennedy retires or dies during the Obama administration, instead of a swing vote, the court will get a justice who more reliably will side with the liberals on questions such as employee rights, the breadth of Congressional power, and hot-button issues with trial lawyers such as whether class actions can be preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.

“It all depends who gets replaced,” said James Burling of the libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation, which won a groundbreaking case this year involving the rights of landowners to challenge the government’s designation of their property as protected inland wetlands. “If it’s Ginsburg, well, things can’t possibly be much worse. If you’re talking about replacing Kennedy, that’s potentially quite troubling.”

Of course, any of these judges may stick it out until Obama himself has retired. The oldest-sitting Supreme Court justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes, remained on the bench until he was almost 91.

But it is more likely at least one of them will leave the bench during the final Obama years, either through retirement or death. According to this paper by Ross M. Stolzenberg of the University of Illinois and James Lindgren of Nortwestern University Law School, the odds of a justice dying in office is slightly more than 5% per year, increasing steadily as justice age past 70. About 45% of all Supreme Court justices have died in office, while 47% retired.

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Another finding by Stolzenberg and Lindgren should give hope to conservatives. The researchers studied when justices tend to retire and found there is a 2.6 times chance they will step down voluntarily if the president is from the same party as the one who nominated them. Put another way, there is a significantly higher chance they will try to hold on to their seat until a president from their own party is elected, or they die. The odds of a justice retiring are higher in the first two years of a presidential term.

Liberals have a long list of issues they’d like to see decided by a less conservative court. The Center for American Progress listed most of them in a handwringing piece this fall, “An Obama Supreme Court vs. A Romney High Court.” Many seem to follow the concerns of trial lawyers, including:

Mandatory arbitration for employee lawsuits, which would cut down on lucrative mass wage-and-hour suits.

Age-discrimination suits, which were limited under a 2008 decision, Gross v. FBL Financial.

Using federal law to preempt suits in state courts, where juries can be more generous to plaintiffs and judges more difficult toward corporate defendants.

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A newly liberalized court might also revisit affirmative action, which the Roberts Court will likely limit further, or declare unconstitutional, in the pending Fisher vs. University of Texas decision. A liberal majority also might look for an opportunity to reverse Citizens United, which itself overturned federal campaign-finance reform law as well as prior Supreme Court precedent limiting corporate and union contributions toward political speech. It also might reverse the Roberts Court’s decisions allowing voter identification laws and severely limiting Congress’ power to compel the states to do its bidding.

In his decision upholding Obamacare, Roberts overturned the way Congress had hoped to expand Medicare, finding it a coercive exercise of power against the states because they would lose all Medicare funding if they didn’t expand their rolls. That will be a decision liberals hope to hem in with subsequent rulings.

“There are other programs with great social significance that could be affected by that reasoning,” said Caroline Fredrickson, president of the American Constitution Society, a progressive counterpart to the Federalist Society.

She said she wasn’t so sure even Ginsburg will retire over the next few years.

“She’s tough as nails, articulate, funny and strong,” Fredrickson said. “I wouldn’t make any bets with regard to that.”

CNN did an excellent job of identifying potential Obama nominees. If his previous picks, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, are any indication, they will likely be moderates with stellar resumes, who can navigate around a potential Republican filibuster in the Senate.

“Democrats usually get what they’re seeking when they make appointments,” Burling said. “The Republicans usually get surprised.”

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"potential"...?

more like definite.

The left has been salivating for this for a loooooong time.

eminant domain will be out of control, people will lose their property.

the courts of the land will no longer be a recourse for the law-abiding.

just like the dept. of justice was in the last 4 years,

this seat responsible for the rule of law will be dessimated.

The Rights of The People will become chum.

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“6 reasons Obama will come for your guns”

If you’ve been putting off buying guns and accessories, now is the time to do it. President Obama is clearly anti-gun and with no more elections to stifle his political will, he may decide to add “serious gun control” to his legacy.

If you don’t believe President Obama will come after your guns, here are 6 reasons that suggest he will.

1. President Obama believes Americans want gun control. In a 1998 speech at Loyola University he said, “The vast majority of Americans would like to see serious gun control, it does not pass. Why does it not pass? It doesn’t pass because there is this huge disconnect between what people think and what legislators think and are willing to act upon.”

With his last election in the bag, what’s stopping him from adding “serious gun control” to his agenda?

2. Barack Obama said, “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns”. While teaching at the University of Chicago in the 1990s he made this very real statement to John Lott, the famous gun advocate. He went out of his way to tell John Lott his views, because he knew who he was.

3. Barack Obama has stated that gun control was very much on his agenda on March 30, 2012, in a meeting with Sarah Brady, He went on to say “I just want you to know that we are working on it. We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar”. Now that he has won reelection he has no reason to operate “under the radar”.

4. President Obama appointed two anti-gun Supreme Court judges (Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) and now will probably appoint 1-2 more. Both will vote against the second amendment whenever given the chance. And they’ll be there for decades.

5. The ATF “walked” guns to Mexican drug lords to make it easier to pass new gun regulations. Fast and Furious probably is as bad as it sounds. In 2010 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms instructed gun dealers near the Mexican border to sell thousands of firearms to arms traffickers working for the drug cartels south of the border – a practice called “gunwalking”. In the past this was done to follow the guns to the drug cartels, but this time there was no such tracking, tracing, following, or attempt to figure out where the guns were going. Why would our government do this?

Well, there were internal ATF emails found that show the ATF discussing how to use the Fast and Furious gunwalking to justify new gun regulations. When these guns showed up at crime scenes, they could point to American gun stores and decry that we need new regulation.

6. Barack Obama’s administration is working behind closed doors on a new United Nations Gun Control Treaty. They are working with communist China, formerly communist Russia, and socialist France to pen the treaty. Like Barack Obama, none of those countries believe citizens should be allowed to have firearms.

At this point you have two options. The first option is to “hope” we won’t have our gun rights stripped and carry on as usual. The second option is to prepare for the very real possibility and start stocking up.

Common forms of gun control are taxes and production freezes – stocking up now will allow you to circumvent both of those measures. Gun control advocates often discuss placing high taxes or fees on gun accessories as a means of gun control. It wouldn’t be too difficult to pass a regulation requiring a $5 per bullet tax or a $50 per holster tax. Stocking up now will avoid the taxes, which probably won’t be retroactive if enacted. Any new laws or regulations banning guns and accessories probably won’t be retroactive either so stocking up now is a good safeguard against future bans. For example, when fully automatic weapons were banned the ones we had were still legal, we just can’t make anymore.

In solidarity for our fellow second-amendment supporting citizens, we’re offering a 25% off coupon code to help our cause - just use coupon code “stockup” at checkout. So go buy guns, ammo, and all the accessories. Buy lots of them – I know I am.

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