Supreme Court Predictions Game Time™

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by CalBoy, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. CalBoy macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #1
    So now that Obama's been sworn in, and since we've already seen him act in a lot of areas already, I think it's time to start predicting the one thing Obama can't do on a set timetable: appoint new justices.

    First off, a list of the current justices in order of seniority:

    1. Chief Justice John Roberts; Age: 53; Appointed by: Bush Jr.
      [*]John Paul Stevens; Age: 88; Appointed by: Ford
      [*]Antonin Scalia; Age: 72; Appointed by: Reagan
    2. Anthony Kennedy; Age: 72; Appointed by: Reagan
      [*]David Souter; Age: 69; Appointed by: Bush Sr.
      [*]Clarence Thomas; Age: 60; Appointed by: Bush Sr.
      [*]Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Age: 75; Appointed by: Clinton
      [*]Stephen Breyer; Age: 70; Appointed by: Clinton

      [*]Samuel Alito; Age: 58; Appointed by: Bush Jr.

    Justices highlighted in red are on the conservative end of the spectrum while those in blue are on the liberal end of the spectrum, with Justice Kennedy as the middle justice.

    So, here's the game: predict who will leave the Court first, when, and if you're really daring, who Obama will pick to replace him/her. :)

    Prize: Bragging rights. :p
     
  2. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #2
    So naturally as the creator of the game, I'll be the one to submit the first guess.

    I predict that Justice Ginsburg will leave first, and will do so during this year's summer recess, and probably no later than Christmas 2009.

    Because I'm particularly daring, I think that Obama will choose Elena Kagan to be her successor.

    I think Justice Stevens will be the next one to leave the Court, and probably won't do so until he surpasses Oliver Wendell Holmes' record as the oldest serving justice, or possibly even William O'Douglas' record as longest serving justice. In either case, I think he'll leave sometime between summer 2011 and summer 2012.
     
  3. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #3
    I can't hazard a guess at this point, but looking at your list I am reminded that we will most likely have the conservative-leaning judges on the bench for a long time.

    As much as some may wring their hands at Obama getting the chance to appoint more liberal-leaning judges - I like that things will most likely remained relatively balanced on the court with his (potential) appointments.
     
  4. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    #4
    Conservative or liberal in what context? On the spectrum as it is represented in American politics?
     
  5. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #5
    During Obama's first term, it's very doubtful that any conservative justice will leave the Court, however if he is reelected, that is where things get interesting.

    By that point, both Scalia and Kennedy would be 76. While Scalia probably would not like to retire, Kennedy might if he feels that Obama will choose a good successor.
    Technically a little bit of the American spectrum and the normal spectrum.

    To be 'liberal' in the judicial sense means that you are more willing to step back and let the government experiment with the limitations of the Constitution. A conservative in the judicial sense doesn't feel the government should push the limits of the Constitution and will generally not uphold drastic changes (ie, the Supreme Court during the New Deal when 4 conservative justices known as the "4 Horsemen" kept invalidating FDR's New Deal policies).

    In another sense, liberal justices also believe that the Constitution can be used to protect individual rights that aren't explicitly stated (ie, privacy) while conservative justices would say that such issues are up to the legislature to decide.
     
  6. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #6
    Of course it's easy to predict that Ginsberg and Stevens will be the next two justices to retire. Ginsberg has had health issues, and Stevens is really really old; both have been sitting tight hoping to wait out the Bush administration and have a president more aligned with their political viewpoints to provide a replacement.

    Depending on the political climate heading into 2012, Breyer may decide to step down if he feels that Obama is going to lose. Otherwise he'll probably wait until into Obama's second term before retiring.

    The rest of them will probably hold on as long as their health permits. I assume it's attractive for many of them to die, like Renquist, with their robes on, so to speak.
     
  7. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #7
    Souter and Kennedy present us with two interesting cases.

    By 2012 Kennedy would be 76 and probably thinking about retirement. Justices don't actually like to die on the bench, because it doesn't give them as much control over when the next justice will come in. They usually prefer to retire at the beginning of a President's term (so as to minimize the longevity of a single appointment) and they also usually wait for other strategic developments.

    Kennedy might decide that he doesn't want to push being 80 or 81 when the next President would come in, and could choose to let Obama appoint his successor.

    Souter, who isn't very old yet, hates the job. He's been unhappy ever since the Bush v Gore decision, and has stayed on only to prevent Bush from getting an appointment. He could choose to retire between 2012 and 2016 if a Democrat is in the White House, or he may even decide to leave soon if he's still depressed about the Court.
     
  8. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #8
    I like the current balance of the Justaice for the most part.

    personally I think it should be 3 of each. 3 conservative, 3 liberal and 3 middle of the road.

    At the very least the Conservative and liberal should be balanced.

    I think that a liberal judge should be replaced with a liberal judge and so on. I do not like to see the desk ever stacked.
     
  9. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #9
    Ah, but who would determine who was a liberal and who was a conservative? Would you be willing to let Noam Chomsky make that determination? Would I be willing to let Thomas Sowell make that determination?

    The SCOTUS is a reflection -- albeit a lagging indicator -- of the electoral priorities of Americans. When Americans elect a conservative president and a conservative congress, you get justices like Alito and Roberts.

    Elections, as they say, have consequences. One of the few truly bright spots in the Bush legacy -- at least from the conservative perspective -- are the Bush appointees to the SCOTUS.
     
  10. CalBoy thread starter macrumors 604

    CalBoy

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    #10
    And we have an exit...

    Link

    I'm hoping that Ginsburg also announces her retirement after Christmas, but given that Souter is leaving now, she'll probably wait until next summer.

    I hope Obama chooses a woman to replace Souter, because the current ratio is just pathetic.
     
  11. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #11
    Think about this: Souter's considered a moderate, and the two oldest judges (most likely to retire next) are both liberal.

    I just don't see how that makes for the face of the court changing any time soon. Obama is not going to appoint a true-blue liberal to the court, IMO. It would be much more in character for him to go with a moderate from the left side of the aisle.
     
  12. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #12
    If Obama were to get a second term, I would put my money on one of the RATS either retiring or dying before the Obama administration is over. That would change the makeup and swing the majority to the liberal side of the court.
     
  13. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #13
    It will be interesting to watch - depending on the timing of everything -whether the new "filibuster-proof" component of Congress will come into play in the nomination process.
     
  14. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #14
    I can't guess, but if it's a liberal, get ready to take equal marriage rights to the court! :D Yay! Finally we might have a chance.

    EDIT- oh wait, just looked at it in more detail. Oh well. :(
     
  15. Oneness macrumors regular

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    #15
    Yes, I do understand that this is the world in which we live, but to me its sad that Supreme Court Justices base their retirement decisions on the probability that their replacements align with the correct political views and not on their scholarly/legal qualifications.
     
  16. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #16
    After the last administration, I don't blame them at all. Bush/Cheney were quite simply dangerous and frightening.
     
  17. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

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    #17
    Well it seems we've found out who's leaving now:
    Souter

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/02/us/02souter.html?hp

    The pundits reackon Obama will replace him with a female, to balance out the numbers a bit as theres only one other female supreme judge, but finding the right liberal left wing minded female judge might be a bit of a challenge i guess.
     
  18. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #18
    I hope he appoints a female, gay, Hispanic (preferably of Mexican descent) liberal to the court. Would be fun to watch Republicans react to this. :D
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #19
    What will truly be interesting to see is whether the GOP accords Obama's nominee the sacred right of the upperdown vote.

    Remember, back when the GOP was in the majority, they were ready to "go nuclear" and eliminate the fillibuster for judicial nominees because they said it was essentially unconstitutional not to give the President's nominee a vote subject to a simple majority.

    Will those same principles hold now that power has changed hands, or will the GOP prove themselves to be hypocrites once again?

    I know where my money is...
     
  20. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #20
    Sure would. Oh- and you forgot Muslim. ;)
     
  21. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #21

    I'll see your Muslim and raise you a disability. :D
     
  22. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #22
    Sweet. I think we're covered now. :)
     
  23. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #23
    See post #10... you're 7 posts and about 12 hours too slow for this to be news here.

    Although I would agree that it is likely that Obama will be interested in selecting a woman for this position. I wonder how Hillary would feel about joining the SCOTUS...
     
  24. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #24
    "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges."

    I think I am going to be sick. Why not interpret the constitution for everyone as a whole and not specific groups? As it was originally intended?
     
  25. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #25
    It's important for the court to be balanced. We do need someone who understands these groups as well as everyone else. Do you think the court should be all straight, white, Christian people? Do you think they could be effective?
     

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