Supreme Court: Think 2018


It’s no secret: polls show that Americans are overwhelming disappointed with the role of money in politics. Both parties are aware of it, but it is quite clear that Republicans have no desire to change the reality of campaign finance. Instead, they want to change the perception. This was, after all, the purpose of the TEA party – give the party of Citizen’s United a grass-roots makeover. Democrats are obviously not innocent of corporate funding or patronage, but only they have made any effort to combat the legal environment that makes the current campaign finance debacle possible. Here in Montana the contrast could not be more stark: We have a chance to elect a governor who fought against Citizens United, an attorney general who will continue the fight Bullock started, and a Senator who has already started to take action against the ruling. But all of that will continue to run into brick walls – the Supreme Court has refused to re-consider their opinion, and any attempt to re-chain massive corporate spending allowed under Citizens United with constitutional amendments will have to do so over the opposition of waves of corporate cash. Ultimately, the best way to end Citizens United and get campaign finance back under control is through the Supreme Court. And our next Supreme Court justices will be determined not just by who is in the White House, but who is in the Senate. With that in mind, I’d like to remind everyone how old our current Supreme Court justices will be in 2018, the end of the next Senate term for either Denny Rehberg, an unabashed champion of Citizens United, or Jon Tester, who has opposed it since its inception.

Elena Kagan will be 58
John Roberts will be 63
Sandra Sotomayor will be 64
Samuel Alito will be 68
Clarence Thomas will be 70
Stephen Breyer will be 80
Antonin Scalia will be 82
Anthony Kennedy will be 82
Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be 85

The average retirement age for a Supreme Court Justice is 78.7.

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The Polish Wolf


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  • When Denny’s elected it will be the final nail in the coffin of CU and ACA. I’ll be interested in the MT exit polls, but I’ll predict that corporate spending will be low on the list while the economy, Obamacare, and the deficit will be the main reason the Tester/Obama floundered.

    As far as the SC justices are concerned Ruth Buzzy/Ginsberg has pancreatic cancer and has publicly stated leaving sometimes during Obama’s second term.

    Happy Days ahead.

    • One correction. Justice Ginsburg has not stated when she will retire.

      Can she hang on long enough. We’ll see.

      • What’s your point? The very hail and healthy Sandra Day O’Conner stated very publically that she would only retire under a Republicant President, which she did, giving us Scalito.

  • For once you’re completely correct: If Republicans get the Senate and the presidency this year, Ruth Bader Ginsberg will be replaced with a conservative, young, healthy Justice. The ACA will be struck down or weakened, and CU will never be repealed. Of course whether that happens will primarily be determined by whether hiring picks up. And that, in turn, is controlled to a large degree by the same corporations that will have their power multiplied by a GOP victory.

  • Even if Obama is re-elected, he’ll have a hell of a time getting moderate, let alone liberal, justices confirmed even if Democrats retain control of the Senate. If Mitt wins, he’ll appoint reactionaries that make Scalia look like Bill Douglas.

    If anything, PW’s post understates the stakes.

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