Supreme Court

October 11, 1999

Last week I was on a radio program talking about the opening of the Supreme Court. We talked for awhile about some of the cases before the court, but finally I had to say that the most significant issue before the court will be who the next president will be. He or she will have an unprecedented opportunity to shape the court for a significant portion of the 21st century. Let me explain.

There are nine supreme court justices. The president appoints them for life (with good behavior). Currently the court is a swing court, and many of the decisions come down as a 5-4 decision or a 6-3 decision. Often a case can go either way depending upon the way certain blocs of judges vote.

A number of members of the court are also not in good health. Ruth Bader Ginsberg just returned to the court after having surgery. Sandra Day O'Connor and William Rehnquist are not in the best of health. And I could mention others. The point is that some of these justices will most likely step down in the next few years. The next president, therefore, will be able to shape the court in profound ways.

Consider the impact of President Clinton on the court. His federal judges have struck down teen curfew laws, thereby allowing young thugs to roam the streets at all hours of the night. Clinton judges have also struck down various state legislature bans on partial birth abortion and voided state requirements of parental consent for minors seeking abortion. And the very first decision by Clinton appointee Judge Daniel Polster was to declare unconstitutional the city seal of Stow, Ohio because its artwork contains a cross.

The next president will have a significant opportunity to influence the court, which in turn will have a major impact on the issues most of us hold dear.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.