Voters to Pick Next Supreme Court Justices

The Arizona Republic today points out one of the most critical reasons to vote this year--one that I think makes a vote for Kerry imperative over a vote for Bush. Our Supreme Court. For the next forty years.

A new justice has not been named to the U.S. Supreme Court for more than 10 years, the longest such period since 1823. But speculation that as many as four of the nine court members might retire during the next presidential term, including Chief Justice William Rehnquist, means that whoever is elected president on Nov. 2 could have a profound impact on the high court for a generation or longer through his nominations of successors.

Among the issues the court likely will consider during the coming years:

abortion rights, privacy issues.... the treatment of suspected terrorists and standards for quotas and affirmative action.... states' rights and restrictions on federal power, environmental laws, civil rights, separation of church and state, immigration, whether to declare same-sex marriage a right and rules surrounding arrests, search and seizure.

Bush on his intended selections:

"I support the protection of marriage against activist judges. And I will continue to appoint federal judges who know the difference between personal opinion and the strict interpretation of the law."....ush also reaffirmed his opposition to abortion, stating "because a caring society will value its weakest members, we must make a place for the unborn child." And he has said the judges he will appoint "will not legislate from the bench."

Kerry's view:

...lower court "judicial nominees by the present administration have records that I believe are troubling to American women and those that support their equal rights." Kerry also said he believes judicial nominations "should not be occasions to advance partisan agendas but opportunities to advance justice."

Such things as expansion of rights and opportunities for women in the workplace, assurances of equal pay and improvements to the Family and Medical Leave Act can be achieved "through the appointments that are made to important legal positions and the actions we take," Kerry said. And "we must ensure that the right to choose is never abridged, never weakened, never taken away," Kerry added.

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