POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Schwartz (The Nation): the likely impact of a McCain appointed Supreme Court

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 18, 2008

Herman Schwartz writes in The Nation …

  • The upcoming presidential election will shape the Supreme Court for decades to come. 
    • John Paul Stevens is 88, David Souter dislikes Washington and the 75-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been treated for cancer. 
    • One or more of these liberal Justices will probably leave the bench in the next four years. 
    • The replacement of one or two of them by a conservative would mean a rollback of key rulings of recent years.
  • Roe v. Wade has drawn the most attention, but many other liberal rulings of the past twenty years that were decided by 5-to-4 or 6-to-3 votes could be reversed.
  • Here are some of the most important rulings that would be threatened by a McCain Court:
    • National security: Guantánamo detainees; compliance with the Geneva Convention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice;  right to habeas corpus.
    • Church-state separation: official school prayer; right to display religious symbols in public spaces.
    • Gay rights: criminalization of same-sex intercourse; adoption, hospital visits and housing rights
    • Affirmative action:  employment discrimination, integration in elementary and secondary schools
  • Constitutional issues like these are a crucial but relatively small part of the Court’s business. The bulk of the Court’s work involves the interpretation and application of federal statutes and regulations, which do touch the daily lives of all Americans.
  • Republican administrations and an increasingly conservative judiciary have sought to gut laws and regulations protecting consumers, workers, the elderly and others.

Read the entire article at … http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081103/schwartz



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