In an excellent piece highlighting the impact a second Obama term could have on the federal judiciary, the AP’s Mark Sherman provides an important reminder of what is at stake in this election:
The next president, whether it’s Obama or a Republican, also has a reasonable shot at transforming the majority on the Supreme Court, because three justices representing the closely divided court’s liberal and conservative wings, as well as its center, will turn 80 before the next presidential term ends.
The three justices are Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the court’s liberal wing, conservative Antonin Scalia, and Anthony Kennedy, who leans conservative but on some issues provides a decisive vote for the liberals.
Kennedy, of course, does a whole lot more than simply “lean” conservative. Although his moderate views on issues such as gay rights and detainee treatment are welcome, Kennedy consistently places the interests of wealth individuals and corporations ahead of the more than 99 percent of Americans who cannot afford to buy and sell elections. Kennedy authored the egregious Citizens United decision that unleashed unlimited corporate efforts to buy elections and which led to the creation of Super PACs that empower billionaires to buy off candidates. He’s also consistently voted to allow corporations to force consumers and workers into a privatized, corporate-owned court system that overwhelmingly favors corporations.
If Obama is reelected, however, he could have the opportunity to replace Scalia or Kennedy and transform a Court that has bent over backwards for the one percent into a Court interested in enforcing laws enacted to benefit all Americans. Perhaps this is why super-wealthy donors taking advantage of Kennedy’s error in Citizens United are overwhelming using their vast fortunes to try to defeat Obama.