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Obama Influence Will Be Felt in Lower Courts

Supreme Court is likely set, but underlings decide more cases
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2008 7:48 AM CST

(Newser) – Barack Obama isn’t likely to name a Supreme Court justice anytime soon, but he will be shifting the federal judicial balance almost immediately, the Washington Post reports. Democrats currently hold just 36% of appeals court judgeships, but that should jump to 58% by the end of Obama’s first term. These lower appeals courts decide more than 30,000 cases a year; while the Supreme Court hears less than 100.

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Liberal groups are already pressing for their preferred nominees, while one conservative advocate called on Republicans “to play hardball” with the nominees. “Judges will be an issue where Obama throws a lot of crumbs to his political base,” the advocate predicted. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, has said he favors judges who are “sympathetic enough to those who are on the outside,” without access to political power. (Read more President Obama stories.)

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