“This is not an election about who’s going to be president just for the next four years. This is an election about the direction of the Supreme Court for the next 40 years”
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Senator Grassley nicely sums up the importance of Nov. 8.
If I had to quibble with his quote, I would add that with more than 10 percent of the judgeships vacant in the lower courts this is an election about the direction of the third branch of the federal government for the next generation.
Fortunately, the Presidential Commission on Debates announced that Fox News’s Chris Wallace has selected the Supreme Court as one topic for the final debate. But the list of topics is “subject to possible changes because of news developments.” The Supreme Court deserves to be topic A.
Many articles have documented the proxy fight over the federal courts. But it bears repeating that the election results may continue an almost 50-year run of a conservative majority on the Supreme Court or begin a new period with a more progressive majority.
Since February, the Court has been ideologically split down the middle with four conservative justices and the same number of progressives. This past month Justice Elena Kagan offered one of the best explanations, that I have heard, on why we need a ninth justice. During a September 16th event at Harvard Law School, Dean Martha Minow asked Justice Kagan about her experience on a Court that has no tie-breaking vote. Below is Kagan’s answer: