All posts tagged: Presidential Election

The Supreme Court of the United States

The 2016 Election’s Effect on the Supreme Court

Insulation from the winds of political change. Protection of minorities from the majority’s tyranny. Such is the jargon describing the United States Supreme Court’s role in government. Once a judge ascends to our highest court, firmly seated to exercise life-long power, the judge is expected to embrace a duty of impartiality, rendering decisions reflecting “neutral” legal principles, not partisan politics. The reality of judging presents something quite different from this pristine vision. Even in uneventful presidential elections, entanglements emerge between the Supreme Court and politics. But the current election season has produced an alchemy that promises the presidential election extraordinary influence on the Court’s membership and decisions. What makes for special circumstances? Answer: a particularly polarized electorate, the presumptive selection of an outsider candidate for the Republican Party, Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, an aging Court, and the Republican Senate’s unusual success in avoiding confirmation hearings to fill the Scalia vacancy. Assuming, as appears most likely, that the general election will present Donald vs. Hillary, let’s consider how these candidates will approach judicial appointments. We should …