Supreme Court Justices To Retire?

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( – Anticipating the 2024 election, legislators are eyeing it as a crucial chance to influence the Supreme Court’s future, given the potential retirements of conservative Justices Clarence Thomas, 75, and Samuel Alito, 73.

Democrats fear that a Republican victory in the election, combined with a potential Senate majority, could pave the way for the nomination of younger conservative justices by a GOP president, thereby extending their influence into the foreseeable future.

“The upcoming elections are crucial. We are hopeful that President Biden will be reelected and continue to nominate more federal judges, including Supreme Court Justices. To ensure this, the Senate’s control needs to stay with the Democrats,” stated Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who is set to retire next year.

Stabenow expressed concerns about the possibility of Republicans taking over the White House and Senate, and nominating younger conservatives to replace Thomas and Alito, indicating that such a scenario would be disastrous for individual freedoms and privacy rights. This concern follows a 6-3 Supreme Court ruling last year, overturning the constitutional right to an abortion and raising questions about the 14th Amendment’s other protected rights.

Republicans also consider the upcoming elections to have significant implications for the court.

“Likely, the upcoming president will have the opportunity to nominate another Supreme Court member,” stated Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I anticipate that we might see one or two retirements within the next presidential term.”

Hawley acknowledged the potential for a long-lasting majority through the appointment of younger conservative justices. Still, he warned that predicting the evolution of a justice’s opinions over their tenure is challenging.

With Chief Justice John Roberts, 68, acting as the potential swing vote, Republican appointees currently hold a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court.

Of the Democratic appointees, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 69, is the oldest, followed by Justice Elena Kagan, 63, and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, 52, who was appointed by President Biden. The other three justices, Neil Gorsuch, 55, Brett Kavanaugh, 58, and Amy Coney Barrett, 51, were nominated by former President Trump.

A recent 6-3 majority decision rejecting a legal theory that would have given state legislatures almost unlimited power to set rules for federal elections reemphasized the Supreme Court’s critical role in US political balance. This ruling illustrated that justices’ decisions don’t always align with the president’s party who appointed them.

The current conservative majority on the court is likely to persist for some time, irrespective of Alito’s and Thomas’s futures.

Academic analysis from three renowned institutions suggests that a majority of justices appointed by a Democrat might not happen until around 2065. This is attributed to the Democrats’ inability to confirm Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016 and the rapid replacement of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Trump following her death in the same year.

These findings have stirred attention among judicial reform advocates who believe they further highlight the significance of the 2024 presidential and Senate races.

Brian Fallon, co-founder and executive director of Demand Justice, highlighted the importance of the 2024 election, citing the potential for replacements of Alito and Thomas. He emphasized the necessity of winning the upcoming election to seize any opportunity to replace either justice.

Carrie Campbell Severino, president of JCN, a conservative advocacy group, noted the long-term implications of the next president’s potential Supreme Court nomination, while questioning the duration of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Democrats face challenges in maintaining their Senate majority post-2024, with critical seats in Ohio, Montana, and West Virginia at risk. The Republicans, however, do not face similar threats.

The future of independent Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s (Ariz.) seat, which currently adds to the Democrats’ majority, is uncertain as she hasn’t revealed her reelection plans.

The presidential race is also highly competitive, with a recent Morning Consult poll showing Trump leading Biden in a theoretical matchup. The poll also indicated Trump significantly outpacing his closest Republican rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

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