If you answered Katrina, or Iraq, you are wrong.
He has two legacies, and both are Supreme Court Justices; namely, John Roberts and Samuel Alito.
The same is true of Obama. Difficult though it may be to believe now, his appointments of Sandra Sotomayor and Elaine Kagan may prove to be historical events of far greater impact than even the birth of Obamacare, should these justices have to rule on their benefactor’s own policies. How would Sotomayor or Kagan vote on, say, government surveillance? Most Democrats would like to think they would rule in the President’s favor, but history may prove otherwise.
The next president may have the opportunity to appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices. Four of the nine current justices are over seventy (Ginsburg, Scalia, Kennedy, and Breyer).
Consider: Samuel Alito is only 63. Sonia Sotomayor and John Roberts 58 and 59, respectively. The 53-year old Elaine Kagan is positively spritely in comparison.
Supreme Court justices serve for twenty or thirty years. William O. Douglas served for 36 years, from 1939 to 1975, more than four times longer than any two-term president.
Some of the most important Supreme Court decisions in recent years hinged on one justice. Freedom of speech narrowly triumphed in the Citizens United decision due to Justice Kennedy’s swing vote. Similarly, the wretched Affordable Care Act was saved by a single justice: Roberts. Bush’s election in 2000 was secured by a single vote, again by Kennedy. This sort of close call, desired or not, happens all the time.
Ginsburg and Breyer are reliably liberal, of course. Scalia is a conservative. Kennedy is often lumped in with the conservatives, being a Reagan appointee, but in practice has sometimes sided with the so-called liberal justices.
So if a Democratic president is elected in 2016, they will naturally try to nominate a liberal for any of these vacancies. For conservatives, the nightmare would be either a Kennedy or Scalia retirement during a Democratic presidency. Hilary Clinton could add as many as two solidly liberal judges to the Supreme Court, threatening Citizen’s United (for which a Hilary Clinton documentary was directly responsible, ironically), and 2nd Amendment rights as well as endorsing a vision of America from which the 1st and 4th Amendments have been even more concisely excised, if that is possible.
A Republican president, of course, would have the opportunity to add as many as two conservative justices to the Court, reigning in the departed Kennedy’s apostate swing votes and providing at least some seawall against the violent wake of Big Brother, still striking shore years after the Obama has sailed on downriver.
This is all worth mentioning not only to stoke the flames of conservative zeal on the eve of the midterms and a political fortnight from the presidential election, but to remind ourselves that should we nominate
a RINO in 2016, and a successful RINO at that, we may have on our hands another Kennedy instead of another Scalia.
(I say Kennedy but I could have said Roberts. As I said, it was Roberts, not Kennedy, who was the swing vote in upholding Obamacare in 2012.)
By this, of course, I mean that we conservatives should make sure that if given the choice, we choose as our candidate someone who is guaranteed to deliver the goods in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy.
Chris Christie, as I have indicated elsewhere in my Newsslinger columns, is not reliably conservative. I won’t bore you by going into detail again, but on gun control, global warming, government surveillance, Obamacare, and a host of other issues Christie is, if not virtually indistinguishable from Democrats, is at least dining at the same table. Rand Paul, on the other hand, in spite of the slings and arrows lobbed at him by his detractors, nevertheless sure to be a reliable deliverer of a genuinely conservative Supreme Court nominee.
Of course, a Christie candidancy is looking less likely every day, so it may be Jeb Bush or some other RINO who is the channel through which a swing vote slips into the Court again. I am reminded of a William Blake poem: