Frank Simmons wrote:
> One last thing - imo the Supreme Court is a phony issue as well, at least as
> Also remember U.S. Supreme Court appointments are for life,
Actually, that's not true. The Supreme Court justice most likely to retire are:
Justice John Paul Stevens (80), a Ford appointee (sitting on the bench since 1975). He's the oldest justice, is in frail health, has talked openly of retiring soon, and word is that he's been holding on for a moderate president. (He apparently thinks Clinton is a goof.) He's almost sure to retire in the next 4 years.
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (76), was a Nixon appointee (he's been sitting on the bench since 1972) who was elevated to Chief Justice by Reagan. He's the second-oldest of the justices, has had some somewhat major health problems in the last few years, and has openly said that he doesn't want to retire only to die (like Blackmun and Brennan) immediately after leaving the court.
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (age: 72), a Reagan appointtee (has been sitting on the bench since 1981) may also retire from the bench. O'Connor has had breast cancer, and is rumored to be in frail health. She's also rumored to very tired of the Court and wants to spend more time with her family and enjoying life. (O'Connor may indeed be burned-out; remember, she was only a judge for SIX YEARS before being nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, so the law is not her life-long goal.)
Stevens is extremely liberal on social issues, somewhat conservative on economic ones. Rehnquist is a strong conservative all around. O'Connor is a swing vote, the person who holds the court in the palm of her hand in almost all the close cases. She has handed to be slightly more conservative on most issues (except political system ones, like campaign finance and open government), especially on First Amendment issues (such as zoning, erotic dancing as expression, child pornography).
Losing Stevens during a Bush administration will mean shoving the court VERY STRONGLY in a conservative direction. Losing O'Connor will likely mean a strong push to the right, although less so than losing Stevens. Losing O'Connor or Stevens will mean a definite, guaranteed, strongly-rightist conservative court.
Now, in a Gore administration, losing Stevens doesn't change the composition of the court much. He'll be replaced by another liberal (probably along the lines of Breyer). Losing O'Connor would mean a BIG SHIFT: O'Connor is slightly conservative, and a Gore appointee would most likely be a moderate to strong liberal. That'd push the court 5-4 in a LIBERAL direction on these close cases (like the recent Boy Scouts case), making hash of the conservatism of Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas. (Souter and Kennedy are moderates on free speech issues. Thomas is a Scalia clone.) And of course, losing Rehnquist during a Gore administration will remove one of the strongest conservative memebers of the court we've had since Roger Taney decided "Dred Scott"!
There are also some other rumblings about two other justices leaving: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age: 67; admitted to the bench in 1993 by Pres. Clinton) may also be in ill health, as may Justice David Souter (age: 61; admitted to the bench in 1990 by Pres. Bush).
Any argument that the next president of the United States won't influence the Supreme Court -- and hence influence major porn, strip club zoning, erotica dancing/free expression, obscenity, and child pornography decisions -- is simply not aware of the facts concerning this court's age and voting stances.
Penis size isn't everything, but it's a lot when you don't have much choice.