Freedoms, Supreme Court Balance Could Pivot on 2012 Election

July 15, 2011 06:51

Take away any one of those Justices, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is no longer an individual right, but a collective one. These narrow rulings serve once again to highlight the precarious balance of this generally conservative Court.

By Timothy H. Lee at Center for Individual Freedom


The United States Supreme Court just finished another term, and conservatives can again take comfort in its overall performance.

How long that remains the case, however, may depend upon the 2012 presidential election.

Specifically, conservatives maintain a narrow 5-4 margin, but Justice Antonin Scalia is now 75 years old.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, who constituted the pivotal swing vote in 14 of 16 cases decided by a 5-4 margin, turns 75 on July 23.  Justice Clarence Thomas is only 63, but would be approaching 70 by the end of the next four-year presidential term in January 2017.  Chief Justice John Roberts is only 56, but suffered a frightening seizure and fell several feet on a dock near his home in 2007.

Each passing year makes the ideological current balance more and more vulnerable.  Unfortunately, however, this is an issue that receives too little attention as the critical 2012 election approaches.

Just imagine a re-elected Barack Obama replacing a Justice Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts or Alito.

Moreover, according to recent opinion surveys, the American public approves of the Supreme Court by a two-to-one margin despite Obama’s best efforts to demonize it.  In fact, more Americans consider the Court too liberal than too conservative.


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