Unless something dramatic happens within the coming weeks, President Donald Trump will be appointing the next Supreme Court justice. The GOP’s gamble of blocking President Obama’s constitutional right, and duty, to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, vacant since February, will have paid off big time.
There is no doubt Republicans will look to nominate the most conservative justice they can find. The Court, currently split between four conservative and four liberal justices, will once again tilt rightward.
During the presidential election, Democrats tried turning the future makeup of the Supreme Court into a major campaign issue. The warnings could not have been any direr. The next president, voters were told, could nominate 1-3 new justices. If those justices were all in the mold of Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court could stay firmly conservative for decades.
Yes, things look bad for all those who had hoped for a President Clinton and the appointment of liberal justices to the High Court. But all is not as bad as it seems.
President Trump might only appoint one new justice.
The oldest Supreme Court justice is Ruth Bader Ginsburg at 83 years of age. She is followed by Justice Anthony Kennedy, at 80, and Justice Stephen Breyer, at 78.
As the most senior jurist, many liberals had hoped Ruth Bader Ginsburg would step down during Obama’s presidency in order for him to appoint a like-minded liberal justice. But the woman otherwise known as “The Notorious RBG” was having none of it.
Not a big fan of Donald Trump, it’s a safe bet her resolve to remain on the bench has only stiffened. Not that she has expressed thoughts of retiring anytime soon.
“I will retire when it’s time,” the feisty 83 year-old has said. “And, when is it time? When I can’t do the job full-steam.”
Looking at averages, the last 10 justices to depart the Supreme Court had an average age of nearly 80, though John Paul Stevens skewed this average upward when he stepped down in 2010 at the ripe old age of 90.
But looking at, and listening to, the liberal icon, there is nothing average about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. There is little reason to believe her retirement will take place before the next Democratic president sits in the Oval Office… if then!
Photo | Ariel Zambelich/NPR