Balance of Supreme Court at stake in 2012 election
Two weeks of Supreme Court decisions are a vivid reminder of why your vote for president matters.
In the next four years, enough new justices may be appointed either to strengthen decisively the current conservative majority or to shift to a very liberal majority on the Court.
If former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney wins, the conservative majority will be strengthened.
If President Obama is reelected, the Court will lurch to the left.
Consider the stakes that the rulings this week and last have illustrated.
All eyes are on the Supreme Court as we wait for its decision on Obamacare and the answers to fundamental questions.
Will the Court rule that the individual mandate is unconstitutional?
Will the Court rule that the entire act is unconstitutional because there was no severability clause in the law? A clause instructing courts to “sever” from the rest of the law any part deemed unconstitutional — instead of striking down the entire law — is usually written into large bills to preserve them in the face of such challenges. But because the Obama administration could not go back to the Senate after they lost Ted Kennedy’s seat to Scott Brown in the special election, no such clause was in the final bill. By refusing to compromise, Obama may have put everything at risk.
Alternatively, will the Court simply rule that the individual mandate is so central to the bill that if it is struck down, it practically kills the bill – a view Justice Antonin Scalia and others seem to be interested in exploring?
Or, will everyone be shocked because the Court rules the mandate is constitutional? Imagining such scenarios is a reminder of the range of the Court’s impact.
Remember that this decision is coming in a two week period that saw the Court eliminate government unions’ ability to take political money from non-members without their consent and even required the union leaders to notify their members when they had special dues.
The court also reaffirmed the landmark Citizens United case by striking down a Montana state law. This has dramatically shifted power toward free political speech and against efforts by the left to restrict it.
The Court affirmed Arizona’s ability to determine if someone was in the state illegally, but required them to then turn the person over to the federal government. It was a mixed decision which limited the state, but also repudiated Obama’s assertion that checking on legality was inherently racist.
At stake for conservatives in this election is nothing less than the balance of the Supreme Court — and important choices of liberty and constitutionalism.
If President Obama wins another term in which to appoint left-wing judges, the damage will extend for generations. In Gov. Romney we have the opportunity to solidify the footing of conservative justices on the Court and have a lasting impact on decisions which today we cannot even foresee. The rulings this week and last are another reminder of how critical it is to defeat President Obama in November.