Wednesday, August 6, 2014

David Cole: What If Gore Had Been Able To Appoint Supreme Court Justices?

In "The Anti-Court Court" (The New York Review of Books, 8/14/14) David Cole (left) considers what would have happened had Al Gore been elected president and replaced Rehnquist and O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Reading his summary, one realizes that the disposition of the Supreme Court is the most important domestic issue in a presidential election; that there are indeed differences between Democrats and Republicans; and that liberals should proceed with caution when considering supporting a third party presidential candidate. Cole points out the decisive differences that Democratic Supreme Court appointees would have made:

Had a Democratic president been able to replace Rehnquist and O’Connor, constitutional law today would be dramatically different. Affirmative action would be on firm constitutional ground. The Voting Rights Act would remain in place. The Second Amendment would protect only the state’s authority to raise militias, not private individuals’ right to own guns. Women’s right to terminate a pregnancy would be robustly protected. The validity of Obamacare would never have been in doubt. Consumers and employees would be able to challenge abusive corporate action in class action lawsuits. And Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which struck down regulations on corporate political campaign expenditures and called into question a range of campaign spending rules, would have come out the other way.

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