John Paul Stevens, 88
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75
Antonin Scalia, 72
Anthony Kennedy, 72
Stephen Breyer, 70
Clarence Thomas, 60
Samuel Alito, 58
Sonia Sotomayor, 56
John Roberts (the chief justice), 53
Because of his age and length of service, Stevens is widely considered the most likely to step down, followed by Ginsburg. Both happen to be judicial liberals on a Court that has four liberals (Breyer and Sotomayor being the other two) and four judicial conservatives (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts). The fickle Kennedy tends to provide the fifth vote in close cases, particularly those involving abortion, race, and religion.
The election of Obama over McCain last fall prevented a Republican goal (dating from the 1968 presidential campaign) of an unambiguously conservative majority on the Court. In this liberal nightmare, the relatively youthful majority would be busy whittling away at Roe v. Wade, eliminating race-based preferences in the public sector, strengthening the government’s hand in fighting terrorism, and facilitating a larger role for religion in public life–among many other bad, bad things.
I know most of you have these players, their stats and which team they play for memorized, but I don’t and always have to go looking for them.
This morning’s New York Times has an op-ed piece titled, “Discrimination on Trial, but Not on TV.” In a 5-4 decision that split the top judges along their political leanings, the Supreme Court barred the live broadcast of audio and video from a California court where rights activists are challenging a state ban on gay marriage.
I would like to know what you think of this decision made yesterday, and your thoughts of our nation’s high court in general.