The Supreme Court buzz these days is all about the Court’s new “era of good feelings.” That’s dubious, because the central reality remains the same: the Court is deeply divided on fundamental questions about how we lead our lives and govern our country.
Even one more conservative justice would likely push the Court further right than President Bush has managed with two appointments. Bush shifted the Court’s swing vote from Justice O’Connor to Justice Kennedy. Kennedy usually votes with conservatives, but not always. A new conservative justice would likely shift the Court’s fifth vote from Kennedy to Senator McCain’s “model” for a judge, someone like John Roberts or Samuel Alito. These two are conservatives far more reliable than Kennedy.
What would this mean? On the most controversial issues, progressives and moderates would no longer have a shot.
In a new report, the Center for American Progress Action Fund outlines seven areas where the Court is now narrowly divided, and where a new appointee could make a big difference:
1. Taking away the Right to Choose.
2. Slowing the Fight Against Global Warming.
3. Reducing Government’s Ability to Protect Our Water and Air.
4. Eroding Voting Rights.
5. Weakening Civil Rights.
6. Reducing Access to the Courts and Undermining the Rule of Law.
7. Allowing Extreme Applications of the Death Penalty.
These shifts might not be immediate. Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito have made clear that they prefer to move slowly. But, on so many issues, moving the Court right is clearly their aim.
Read more here.