Six of Nine

This has been cross posted at Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo.

Something dawned on me as I contemplated the upcoming Presidential Election. We are about to witness one of the greatest turning overs of the Supreme Court in the history of the United States.
Six of Nine Supreme Court Justices, by the end of the 2nd term of the next President of the United States, will be 70 years or older.

Age as of January, 2009, Inauguration Day:

Justice John Paul Stevens: 88 years
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 74 years
Justice Antonin Scalia: 72 years -- Conservative
Justice Anthony Kennedy: 71 years -- Swing Vote Conservative
Justice Stephen Breyer: 70 years
Justice David Souter: 69 years -- Swing Vote

Clearly, the liberal wing of the Supreme Court is set to retire completely within the next decade. See below:

Age as of January, 2017, Inauguration Day of the following President:

Justice John Paul Stevens: 96 years
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: 82 years
Justice Antonin Scalia: 80 years -- Conservative
Justice Anthony Kennedy: 79 years -- Swing Vote Conservative
Justice Stephen Breyer: 78 years
Justice David Souter: 77 years -- Swing Vote

And coming up shortly thereafter in 2017?

Justice Clarence Thomas: 68 years
Justice Samuel Alito: 66 years
Justice John Roberts: 62 years

In other words, the next President will literally define the Supreme Court for a generation in a way that no other President has had an opportunity to do since Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he appointed 9 Justices during his 12 years in office.

Repeat that again. FDR.

Say it one more time for emphasis. F. D. R.

The only other President who would have come close to FDR during the last 60 years would be Dwight Eisenhower, who selected 5 Justices during his tenure from 1953 - 1961.

Ahead of FDR for most appointees in United States history? George Washington. Yes, one of the founding fathers of this nation who was able to appoint 11 justices.

By comparison, the only Presidents in the past 50 years to have served multiple terms, i.e., George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan, each received two appointments.

TL has corrected me in that Reagan appointed three justices, not two.

I cannot stress enough how that much more important it is that Barack Obama secure the White House in light of this fact. If you care about the Environment, Women's rights, Gay rights, the right of non-US and US Citizens to not be unlawfully spied upon and detained in secret prisons, Union rights, Free Speech, Diversity, Voting rights, the rights of those who are in Prison, and a whole slew of other issues such as Digital Property Rights and Eminent Domain, then you must recognize that this coming President will have enormous power to shape the judicial direction of this country for decades.

We MUST elect Barack Obama to ensure the outcome that sees us move forward, not stay stagnant or even worse, fall backward. It is the nature of this nation's history to push onward in the face of conservative thought that would see the status quo of the human condition remain in perpetuity.

We have an opportunity to shatter that status quo in a way that has not been done in more than half a century. We must grasp it and hold firm.

Please share your thoughts.

Tags: supreme court scotus united states presidential election 2008 barack obama john mccain (all tags)



tips jar
to the opportunity to remake the Supreme Court for a generation.
by Yalin 2008-06-09 10:23PM | 0 recs
... not star trek?

by RisingTide 2008-06-10 07:32AM | 0 recs
McCain: No Choice for Women

As he is fond of saying: Elections have consequences.

by background n015e 2008-06-10 03:15PM | 0 recs
Who gets to decide chief justice?

Can it be changed?  Or can it only happen when the former Chief leaves the SC?

by dystopianfuturetoday 2008-06-10 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Who gets to decide chief justice?

As far as I know, chief justice is only changed once the current one leaves the supreme court, whether by death or retirement or impeachment.

by Yalin 2008-06-11 07:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

damn. hot damn.

its pretty historic and will have major implications on generations to come.

by alyssa chaos 2008-06-09 10:25PM | 0 recs

here and at dKos. This is a critical issue.

by sricki 2008-06-09 10:39PM | 0 recs
highly recommended.

a true must-read.

by Lakrosse 2008-06-09 10:44PM | 0 recs
Yup. People here who claim to be...

"undecided", "thinking of staying home", or "debating McCain" are, quite simply, on the verge of throwing the country to the wolves for the next fifty years.

I hope it's worth it.

by Firewall 2008-06-09 11:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Yup. People here who claim to be...

Give them time.  We all came around to Kerry back in 2004.  It just takes time.

by Skaje 2008-06-10 12:08AM | 0 recs
You're right about that

but this was a  historic battle between a woman and an African American man. Just two years ago I had to fight like hell to get an African American woman on staff as an attending doc. Some of the comments I heard were unbelievable. And they came mostly from extremely well paid white males who vote Republican for the most part. So we should give them all the time they need. We won't be voting for Pharoah. Respect and patience is the key. Amazing things happen when we take the time to listen to what people are feeling and what how they feel about what they have experienced. That's not typically a trait associated with men, unfortunately for all of us. There haven't been many women dictators in the history of the world, have there?

by Jeter 2008-06-10 01:19AM | 0 recs
Some of us may be upset, angry,

hurt and yes, confused - but listen up!  WE're not stupid - I was in the fight before the abortion law and will continue to be in the fight.  Don't worry - as an older, white woman - I will do what we've always done - take care of business and I think I speak for a good many of us.

by Xanthe 2008-06-10 05:26AM | 0 recs
i sincerely hope you are right

because i am so over reading comments made by mature women threatening to vote for the guy who'll force me to give birth.  it scares the shit out of me.  

by annatopia 2008-06-10 05:53AM | 0 recs
How many women does that

cover do you think?  Blogging is a closed universe.  And it's too early to pay attention to what you're hearing re polls.

You won't be forced to give birth - I am right.  This comes from a woman who had an illegal abortion - it won't happen again - not while those in my generation who remember this are alive.  

Though - I hope you want to give birth some day; it's a good thing.  

by Xanthe 2008-06-10 06:06AM | 0 recs
i don't know how many

and that's why it scares me.  i know there's resentment out there.  i just don't want to believe that older women would throw away my autonomy over some sour grapes.

and yea, i do want to have kids.  in fact, the hubby and i are practising real hard right now =)

BUT that being said, i am not blind to the fact that someday i may need an abortion.  say, if i have a fetus with encephaly or something.  i can't imagine the horror of being forced to birth a severely disformed fetus who won't survive anyway.  

ok, i digress.  i'll go back to saying thank you to you for understanding the criticality of this election, and i am grateful to be fighting alongside you.

by annatopia 2008-06-10 06:20AM | 0 recs
Don't worry

It's just a few dead-enders who only care about themselves and their feelings.  Most of us women 'of an age' completely understand what is at stake and we will not let those criminals get into office.  

by GFORD 2008-06-10 08:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

to put a finer point on the issue: how many years will we have a hard-right voting block if mccain wins?

these 4 will be around for the next 1-3 administrations:


these 2 will most likely retire in the next 4 years:


if mccain gets to pick their replacements, we'll most likely have 6 arch conservative justices in for 10-30 years...... and that doesn't even factor in replacements for the others and who the next few presidents will be.

this could be grim, and we have a GREAT opportunity now to find suitable replacements for ginsburg and stevens.

underestimating the importance of this demonstrates myopia of the worst sort.

by j cantarella 2008-06-10 12:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

I would add that Souter is often said to be sick of the job. I don't think he'd let McCain pick his replacement if he could help it, but it's one more seat that a Dem is likely to be able to name for a longer term seat.

by BlueinColorado 2008-06-10 05:30AM | 0 recs
More Republican manipulations
Could you cross post this diary at DKos and TPM as well. I'm sure there would be people interested in it. Also, let's not forget the impact that a President can have on lower than Supreme Court judicial nominations!

by Jeter 2008-06-10 12:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine
I cannot stress enough how that much more important it is that Barack Obama secure the White House in light of this fact. If you care about the Environment, Women's rights, Gay rights, the right of non-US and US Citizens to not be unlawfully spied upon and detained in secret prisons, Union rights, Free Speech, Diversity, Voting rights, the rights of those who are in Prison, and a whole slew of other issues such as Digital Property Rights and Eminent Domain, then you must recognize that this coming President will have enormous power to shape the judicial direction of this country for decades.

I'm certain that if this concise paragraph were presented to primary bruised Americans it would help people to feel that they aren't being specifically targeted as a demographic, but as respected, important people we would be privileged to fight with for even more than just the Presidency, but a country that will not survive without them.

by Jeter 2008-06-10 01:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Souter being included bothers me. He's far from a swing vote and is probably the only person on the panel who doesn't make decisons based on ideology. He is a one in a million judge, almost a blank slate and completely embedded in the law. If we had nine of him we'd be in excellent shape as a country.

Give props to David Souter, Bush v Gore nearly drove him to quit it was that execrable to him as a responsible jurist. He is one of the good guys.

by figgy 2008-06-10 02:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Funnily enough, he was picked over someone else (whose name escapes me) b/c he was considered a more reliable conservative.  Nice call, Bush the elder.

by bosdcla14 2008-06-10 03:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Kenn Starr. I shit you not.

by dannybauder 2008-06-10 07:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

That's it!  I was like,oooh, he was some conservative mucky-muck, dammit, I should know this...

by bosdcla14 2008-06-10 01:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Hmmmmm. If McCain somehow gets elected, & he &/or his VP somehow managed to be re-elected, then instead of 6 "of" could just drop the "of" for the circular conservative love fest that would follow. Seems unlikely, but that's the nature of things "unthinkable."

by catilinus 2008-06-10 03:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

You're on the right track here.  To me the key point is that Ginsberg and Stevens are very likely to be replaced by the next President.  Substitute two conservative Justices for them and you have the makings of an unbreakable conservative majority on the Court.

One thing - Nixon and Reagan each made three appointments.  That doesn't detract from your point in the least, so I would scrub that from the diary.  You don't need it to make the point and it opens you up to criticism that's distracts from the real issue.

by TL 2008-06-10 03:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Greetings TL,

I thought Reagan appointed Sandra Day O'Connor and Antonin Scalia. I know he made Rehnquist Chief Justice and nominated Bork, but there was a third?

As for Nixon, he didn't serve out two terms, so I didn't include him. He did appoint four justices however. Burger, Blackmun, Powell Jr, and Rehnquist.

by Yalin 2008-06-10 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Reagan's third associate justice is Kennedy.

I agree with you that Nixon did have four.  He appointed three new associate Justices - Blackmun, Powell and Rehnquist - and (as I forgot earlier) he also appointed Burger to the Court as chief. ers.pdf

by TL 2008-06-10 07:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Ahh.. Will amend the Reagan bit.

by Yalin 2008-06-10 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Imagine the impact. We have to fight hard and not be over confident. Are we ready. YES

by Politicalslave 2008-06-10 05:00AM | 0 recs
The McCain Court

Oh no he won't.

by psychodrew 2008-06-10 05:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Excellent diary - although Justices pretty routinely stay on the court into their 80's, so we won't see the back of Alito, Roberts and Thomas for probably 20-25 years at least.  Scalia and Kennedy will probably hang in for 15 more years unless their health fails.  So we are fighting a rear guard action just to maintain a moderate liberal minority on the court.

But it's critical - so many people the last week have been talking about the Court as if abortion is the only issue, when it's so much more.  Thanks for spelling that out.

by geordie 2008-06-10 05:29AM | 0 recs
by Brad G 2008-06-10 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

I think ya shoulda thought of that when you were calling Clinton supporters "f*ktard", and "a*wipe."

And Mr. "Unity" mighta used a little of his judgement before
pulling this clever little stunt. vM

Might've prevented the mass crossing over to McCain.

by layer cake 2008-06-10 06:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Wow, so many terrific, thoughtful posts before the first McTroll.

And, "mass crossing to McCain"? Ha ha ha.

by JoeW 2008-06-10 06:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

I called Clinton supporters "f*ktard" and "a*wipe"??

Uhm, can you please link me to where I engaged in such language?

As for the video, I've used different fingers to scratch my face as well. Do you think it should be said that I'd be flipping anyone off?

Now, John McCain called his wife a cunt in front of reporters and left his first wife when she got into a car accident which left her disfigured. You want to vote for someone like that who will really put a world of hurt on women's rights and everything you believe Hillary Clinton stands for?

by Yalin 2008-06-10 06:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine
Wow are you delusional.
by John in Chicago 2008-06-10 06:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

It's trollerific!

by TL 2008-06-10 07:05AM | 0 recs
The finger video!

 A truly dedicated troll can work it into almost any thread imaginable, but this SCOTUS thread is really impressive.  Nice work!

by Koan 2008-06-10 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

I hope you have daughters.

And if McCain gets elected I hope they blame you personally for it, and hate you for it.

by JDF 2008-06-10 07:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Very thought provoking diary. We need to have information like this on the tips of our tongues (and fingers, too) as do our own rapid-response this summer.

Make your friends understand that all of the nonsense Bush & Co. got away with would only increase with a McCain administration.

Here are only some of the hits he'd be trying to make:

-Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage

-Increased domestic phone taps

-War with Iran

-Overturning Roe v Wade

-Diminished Miranda rights in favor of "national security"

No proud American can support this agenda

by dannybauder 2008-06-10 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

too much time, if Barack wins he needs to make room for two more, to reverse the Bush criminal from holding sway over our population even after he's gone. And what's with that thing George plans to do to tie his hands?  HIllary got him to co-sponsor a bill to prevent it from happening, has that gone anywhere?  

by anna shane 2008-06-10 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

You make a very good point, perhaps the most important point regarding the upcoming election.

All the more reason for all of us to

-get involved locally in the campaign
-register new democratic voters
-identify every potential dem voter in our area
-get every one of them to the polls

by tibbs 2008-06-10 06:12PM | 0 recs
Very good analysis


This is not the only reason we need a Democrat but one of the most important.

by SocialDem 2008-06-10 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Six of Nine

Excellent diary on probably one of the most important and too often over-looked issues in this eelction.

by UrbanRedneck 2008-06-11 05:42AM | 0 recs


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