Increasing Attention to Supreme Court as Key Topic for Presidential Debate

washington-supreme-court-building-washington-d-c-dc169ELECTION AND SUPREME COURT: With eight weeks until Election Day, “the most important topic” is the next president’s selection of Supreme Court justices, and it is “tagging along as an afterthought,” Andrew Malcolm wrote in an analysis for McClatchy.

The next president will fill one vacancy and perhaps several more due to aging justices retiring. These nominations “will reshape American life for the next generation or two as they solidify the court or tilt it in a different ideological direction,” Malcolm wrote. “Maybe, if it’s on moderator Lester Holt’s question list, the issue will finally emerge during the first debate Sept. 26, a week before the eight surviving justices reconvene.”

It’s an issue that’s quickly grabbing more attention. The Justice Watch blog of our sister organization, Alliance for Justice, highlighted this issue Sept. 9 and said that “[f]or many of us, [the appointments] will determine what our Constitution means for the rest of our lives. That’s why it’s urgent that when the presidential candidates meet for their first debate on Sept. 26, they be asked to clearly define their views on appointing Supreme Court justices.”

Justice Ruth Ginsburg, meanwhile, weighed in on the current toxic era of high court nomination battles. “Ginsburg: Both parties to blame for nomination fights,” The Associated Press reported.

OTHER JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS: Summer’s nearly over but there’s no cooling in the heated and protracted battle over other judicial nominations, with numerous appointees of President Obama’s appearing unlikely to get votes this year due to a Republican blockade. “Garland snub just the tip of judicial obstruction iceberg,” Brielle Green of Earthjustice wrote for The Hill. At Right Wing Watch, a headline said, “Conservative Groups Urge Maximum Obstruction Of Hillary Clinton’s Judicial Nominees.”

VOTING LAWS AND U.S. COURTS: Federal court rulings on state voting laws have been coming at an almost dizzying pace. In The Los Angeles Times, David Savage has spotted a pattern to recent outcomes.

“It’s no secret that partisan state legislators, once in power, frequently try to alter voting laws to give their party an advantage,” Savage asserted. “But increasingly, when those laws are challenged in federal court, the outcome appears to turn on whether the judges or justices hearing the case were appointed by Republicans or Democrats.”