A president’s ability to build a legacy by shaping the makeup of the Supreme Court is an important consideration in this election year.  On inauguration day 2017, Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy will soon join Ruth Bader Ginsburg in their 80s, and Stephen Breyer will be 78.1

It has been speculated that Justice Ginsburg may retire.  If her seat is filled by a Republican president, this would mean a conservative majority independent of Justice Kennedy, who has been the key swing vote.

However, if a Democrat president replaces either Scalia or Kennedy, this would create a five-justice liberal majority.

“That makes this a make-or-break moment – for the court and our country,” Democrat Hillary Clinton wrote in an op-ed in the Boston Globe.  Republican rival Senator Ted Cruz has warned of a Supreme Court intolerant of religious freedom and expression.  “We will see Ten Commandments monuments all over this country torn down, because a radical Supreme Court says we cannot acknowledge the Ten Commandments,” Cruz stated in a speech in Rock Rapids.

The political philosophies of United States Supreme Court justices are of utmost importance.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney

1 Presidential race could focus on Supreme Court.  Washington Post in the Tampa Bay Times.  January 11, 2016.