The supreme job of nominating judges

Shannon Donelan

When most people think of the 2016 election, nominating judges to serve on the Supreme Court is not the first thing that comes to mind. They might first think about the insults thrown throughout the campaign or the craziness of the debates. However, appointing justices to serve on the Supreme Court is going to be one of the biggest responsibilities of whoever is elected on Nov. 8. It is crucial that Hillary Clinton is the one making these decisions so that the court can establish a liberal majority.

As of now, three of the eight justices are over the age of 75. Within the next four years, there could be up to four nominees made by the next president. The appointment of justices could have a greater long-term impact on our country than the decisions and actions of the president.

In the final presidential debate, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump outlined the type of judge they would appoint to the court. Trump wants to nominate judges who fit a conservative mold and are pro-life and anti-gun control, while Clinton’s vision for the Supreme Court focuses on the protection of voting rights, plus a commitment to removing money and corporate influence from politics. Their nominees for the Supreme Court will play a crucial role in America’s future that will continue well past their four-year term. As said by Oliver Roeder at FiveThirtyEight, “If Donald Trump is elected president, the Supreme Court may, seat by vacated seat, move rightward toward its most conservative position in recent memory. If Hillary Clinton is elected, the court may quickly become the most liberal it’s been in at least 80 years.”

The job of the Supreme Court should be considered even more important than the job of the president. The court makes decisions that have a lasting impact on society, as well as enforces the Constitution and holds the President and Congress accountable for the laws they create.

Hillary Clinton needs to be elected as president of the United States so that the Supreme Court will be on its way towards becoming a liberal court.  A liberal court would mean that anti-abortion state laws would not survive and there would be enough votes to put an end to the death penalty. In addition, important decisions such as marriage equality and a woman’s right to choose regarding reproductive rights would continue being a guarantee for every American. If we fail to elect Clinton, America will be a much less accepting nation in general and look very different for future generations.  

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As of now, there is one vacancy on the Supreme Court; Justice Antonin Scalia passed away in February of this year. In March, President Obama nominated moderate Democrat Merrick Garland to serve, but he has not been confirmed due to the Republican majority on the Senate. Of the current justices, four were appointed by a Republican president and four by a Democratic one. Concern over the balance is why the next justice could be so influential.

Trump wants to elect a judge to fill the conservative mold of Justice Antonin Scalia, meaning someone who is pro-life and against gun control. At the top of his nominee list is Utah Senator Mike Lee, who strongly supports the right to bear arms and opposes taxes on the wealthy. In addition, Lee strongly opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. It is vital for the progress of our country that we do not allow any more conservatives to serve on the court.

Clinton firmly believes that the nominees need to stand up on behalf of women and LGBTQ rights. She has not yet released a list of her potential Supreme Court picks, though it is speculated that she will nominate Goodwin Liu, who is an Asian-American judge on the California Supreme Court. Liu is a former UC Berkeley Law School professor with a history of advocating for equal rights.

“I want to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand the way the world really works, who have real-life experience, who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerked for a judge and then gotten on the bench, but maybe they tried more cases,” Clinton said during a presidential debate.

Hillary Clinton’s election would guarantee that new justices on the Supreme Court will be in favor of voting for the rights of all citizens regardless of their ethnicity, sexual orientation or religion. This could determine the balance for the next 30 plus years and it is crucial that we obtain a liberal majority for the well being of all Americans.