by Olivia N. Sedwick
On Nov. 7, 2016, the ACS Student Chapter at Howard University School of Law hosted a “community conversation” aptly titled “Depending on Tomorrow: The Future of the Supreme Court.” Our discussion featured two notable attorneys from Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom, LLP: Greg Craig and ACS Board Member Cliff Sloan. The panelists have a great deal of experience including having served two Presidents and arguing before the Supreme Court. With such experience, the conversation was well informed about the expectations and attendant implications that would possibly accompany the next presidential administration.
Much of the conversation focused on the realistic expectations and attendant implications that would come with another Clinton presidency. In that vein, we discussed how a Clinton Supreme Court nomination could even out—not necessarily drastically shift—the dynamic of the Court and what important past and upcoming decisions hung in the balance as a result. As Howard Law students, we are always focused on the greater societal implications on equality, justice and fairness. Naturally, we discussed Citizens United, Shelby Cty. v. Holder, the Affordable Care Act and immigration concerns. Likewise, we also discussed the sore-spot that is the 1994 Crime Bill—how and why it was so bad and how another Clinton presidency could possibly remedy it. Those of us in the room knew that many of these decisions—and with them our very livelihoods—lay in wait until the next day, tomorrow.
It is for this reason why I believe that the program was so salient and timely because, for the first time in many of our lives, one day meant to live freely or in fear, to live or to die. While such a statement might be hyperbolic for some, for many anything short of a Clinton administration could mean precisely that. It could mean the likelihood of deportation would increase, more than just a little bit. It could means that affordable access to treatments, in many respects, would became slightly unaffordable. Unfortunately, the day after the election became the day that many of us would have to begin to live in fear. It means that hindrances to the ballot box could possibly be resurrected simply because necessary changes that would restore optimal strength to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would likely be halted even further.