BY MARY ANNA TOWLER
Fer heavens’ sake: who knew? According to a column in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, there are only three conservatives on the Supreme Court: Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Antonin Scalia. And there are four liberals: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy are merely “leaning conservative,” Clint Bolick writes.
And so, says Bolick, the next presidential election is a crucial one for conservatives. True conservative Antonin Scalia and “leaning” Kennedy will turn 80 in the next four years. And if one of them leaves the court and Obama is re-elected, the balance on the court could shift.
First of all, 80 is the new… I don’t know… the new 60? Scalia and Kennedy show no signs of wearing out. And if Obama is re-elected, I’d bet that both of them would do whatever it took to stay on the court until his term was up.
The bigger concern, of course, is liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who not only, at 79, is the oldest current Justice but has had two bouts of cancer: colon and pancreatic. If Ginsburg leaves the court and Obama is still president, he’ll certainly nominate a liberal. But that won’t change the balance on the court.
And if Mitt Romney is elected?
No guesswork there. And the balance of the court will most definitely change.