The presidential election might not be here just yet, but as we look to the future as a country, it's important to look at what the 2016 election means for not just the highest seat in the land but other governmental branches as well. And there's one particularly compelling reason to vote for Hillary Clinton (though she should be getting your support anyway). The next president might be tasked with appointing four new Supreme Court justices, thereby shaping the very core of the SCOTUS.
The Supreme Court is already in the midst of some landmark cases, including King v. Burwell regarding the Affordable Care Act and a major case to determine whether gay marriage will be legalized in all 50 states. Such decisions and subsequent ones will benefit greatly from a president whose acumen in appointing justices errs on the side of equality, a difficult proposition given the politics of conservative judges that have forced issues like the Hobby Lobby decision.
Of the nine current members of the Supreme Court, all of whom served during the aforementioned trials, four may very well consider retiring after 2016. Antonin Scalia, who has served as an associate justice for 29 years, just celebrated his 79th birthday earlier this month; Anthony Kennedy will be also turning 79 in August. Stephen Breyer is just two years younger than Scalia and Kennedy, and the eldest associate judge, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, turned 82 last Sunday, March 15. The oldest SCOTUS member to ever hold the associate justice position was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, who retired at 90 years of age.
Although there is no set age of retirement, it's incredibly rare for a Supreme Court justice to serve until they pass away. A justice's average tenure is 16 years, and many have plans outside of the judiciary system, like retired justice Sandra Day O'Connor, whose post-SCOTUS career has included a successful foray into writing.
As we've seen with the nomination of Loretta Lynch for attorney general, it's generally regarded across the aisle that the people the president nominates will generally side with their politics. Having more Democratic Supreme Court justices has the potential to change everything.
As it stands, no other Democratic presidential candidate has had such staying power as Hillary Clinton, email scandal be damned. According to a recent CNN/ORC International poll, Clinton's numbers may have took a hit, but she's still by far the most favorable candidate at 53 percent. Vice President Joe Biden, who's made no mention of running for president, ranked second with 43 percent, followed by Jeb Bush with 31 percent favorability.
Such close poll numbers, especially between Clinton and a Democratic candidate who very well might not even be eyeing the White House, mean Clinton could easily win if those potential Biden voters defected to Team Hillary. It just goes to show that a united Democratic front may make the difference between the first female president or a Republican-heavy Supreme Court.
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