Next Prez Could Keep, Break Court's Balance

Candidates likely to follow different philosophies in replacing aging liberal judges
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Oct 7, 2008 10:44 AM CDT
People stand on line to attend the opening session of the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Oct. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – The next president will be able to either preserve the Supreme Court’s current ideological balance, or set it on a new conservative path, the Wall Street Journal reports. The youngest of the court’s liberals is 69, while the oldest of the conservatives is only 72. Hence, John McCain could deliver the most conservative court in decades, while Barack Obama would be likely to maintain the status quo.

What kinds of nominees are the candidates likely to appoint?

  • McCain has typically been uninterested in judicial politics, and will probably rely on the same Republican legal establishment as President Bush. Judges from this group would probably emphasize the original intent of the Constitution’s framers.
  • Obama, a constitutional scholar, disagrees with the notion of “original intent,” and would appoint justices interested in applying modern context and expanding rights.