With the Supreme Court term starting in a few weeks, and a presidential election shortly after that, the Center for American Progress has this look at how the nation’s high court could change under the next presidential administration. The differences are not just stunning, they are a reminder of just how much is on the line this election. With four sitting Supreme Court justices over the age of 70, and with the court so closely divided, one or two judicial appointments could significantly shift the American legal landscape. Consider the difference between the kinds of justices President Obama would nominate versus Mitt Romney on the following issues:
In Boy Scouts v. Dale a 5-4 court ruled that organizations can freely ignore state anti-discrimination laws to exclude LGBT members. Since the decision conservative groups have tried to broaden the kinds of activities that would be given similar constitutional protections, including refusal to provide equal employment benefits to employees regardless of gender. Current objections to the contraception mandate in Obamacare bring up similar issues and will likely come before the court in the next year or two.
2. Campaign Finance Reform
The Supreme Court passed on an opportunity to review the horrendous Citizens United decision this term despite the fact that at least two of the justices have spoken publicly about their feeling the case was wrongly decided. And with the importance the ultra-rich and corporate interests place on unregulated political spending they’ve been actively challenging state campaign disclosure requirements which means we can expect the court to revisit the issue at some point soon.
3. Reproductive Rights
If there’s one case conservatives want to see undone it is Roe v. Wade, and with the litany of abortion restrictions on the state level it is a guarantee we will see a direct challenge to Roe. As it stands, the decision is one vote away from being over-turned.
4. Corporate Accountability
In Cuomo v. Clearinghouse, the conservative wing of the court voted to uphold states’ fair lending laws that excluded the banking industry from their scope. Not surprisingly, the challenged regulations were heavily lobbied for by the banking industry. How do you think Mitt Romney stands on an issue like this?
5. Workers’ Rights
In a slew of closely divided decisions the Supreme Court held in Circuit City v. Adams that workers can be forced to relinquish the right to sue their employer in favor of a corporate-run arbitration system. And in Gross v. FBL Services the court stripped many older workers of their ability to ensure they are not fired or demoted because of their age.
Photo from onecle via flickr.