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Uncle Duke
10-30-2008, 02:30 PM
On a different (obviously) thread, a forumite suggested:

...the next POTUS will probably appoint at least two Supreme Court justices that will sway the court one way or another...

... and it's a pretty accepted idea. But the numbers point to something slightly different.

Currently the Supreme Court is pretty straightforwardly 5-4 conservative. And it is very likely that the next president will have to appoint at least one and probably two new justices: Stevens is 88 years old and Souter is 69. Both both of those gentlemen are from the 'liberal' side of the court.

If only one of them retires and Obama is president and he appoints a liberal justice, then the court stays 5-4 conservative. If both retire and he appoints 2 liberal justices, then the court stays 5-4 conservative.

On the other hand, if McCain is president and picks conservative justices, then the numbers become 6-3 or 7-2 conservative and the conservative side of the court no longer needs to rely on Kennedy (who sometimes strays to the liberal position).

Summary = Obama means no change in the leaning of the court. McCain means that conservative justices rule the court.

Have at it! :D

Kaa
10-30-2008, 02:37 PM
Currently the Supreme Court is pretty straightforwardly 5-4 conservative.

Nope.

There is the usually-conservative wing (Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts), there is the usually-liberal wing (Souter, Stevens, Breyer), there is Ginsburg who usually but not always sides with the "liberals", and there's Kennedy who is in the middle and often ends up casting the decisive vote.

But the SCOTUS judges are sufficiently complex and independent so that ranking them on a single conservative - liberal axis is not a very useful endeavor.

Kaa

Uncle Duke
10-30-2008, 02:45 PM
But the SCOTUS judges are sufficiently complex and independent so that ranking them on a single conservative - liberal axis is not a very useful endeavor.
I think that this is mostly correct if we were to say "not a reliable predictor of outcomes", but there are obviously forumites who think differently.
Still a 7-2 'conservative leaning' court is probably more likely to hand down conservative rulings than a 5-4 'conservative leaning' court.
The point being that only with McCain appointees would the balance change - Obama appointees keep it as is.

George Roberts
10-30-2008, 04:48 PM
I would rather have 9-0 decisions in the court than 5-4 decision.

It also appears that in the next 8 years (perhaps the same president) that 8 justices will be replaced. Worse case is 8-1 decisions.

I am not a liberal, but I prefer 8-1 decisions against my interests rather than 5-4 decisions in favor of my interests.

Donn
10-30-2008, 04:59 PM
George...I've always had a hunch you were a few pickles short of a full barrel, but you've confirmed it for me now.

jack grebe
10-30-2008, 05:30 PM
On the other hand, if McCain is president and picks conservative justices, then the numbers become 6-3 or 7-2 conservative and the conservative side of the court no longer needs to rely on Kennedy (who sometimes strays to the liberal position).


"sometimes"....."strays".......LMAO.......WTF are
you smokin?

jack grebe
10-30-2008, 05:31 PM
George...I've always had a hunch you were a few pickles short of a full barrel, but you've confirmed it for me now.
Yup, and I'm sure you two have other things in common too:D.