Here’s why an Obama victory is so important. And here also is why Obama thinks he can tack right for the general election and still win an enthusiastic progressive vote.
It’s the Supreme Court, baby!
The Supreme Court term just ended with 17 5-4 decisions. Keep this in mind: Just one conservative appointment (likely replacing libs. Stevens or Ginsberg) cancels out the part of Justice Anthony Kennedy that sometimes drifts left.
The number of 5-4 cases is less than last year by 1/2 which shows that Chief Justice Roberts is consolidating right wing control over the Court. Roberts’ cohesion brand of administering the Court keeps the Court from drifting farther to the right only because of the four steady moderate/liberal votes, and the sometimes 5th Kennedy vote. With one more conservative justice, Roberts could ignore the moderates– Souter, Breyer, Ginsberg and Stevens– and cohere his mark into a long lasting right majority. Everyone loses here (voter exclusion, national ID and star chambers anyone?) as a result.
The only 5-4 decisions that went the way of the moderates (some say liberal) have to do with the:
1) death penalty (unconstitutional for rape of a child); and 2) Gitmo detainees having habeas corpus rights.
On the other hand, 5-4 decisions going the way of the right (no moderates here):
3) gun rights; 4) campaign finance law (millionaires xception)
6-3 decisions including:
5) voter IDs; 5) international law based rehearing for death row inmate
Here’s the gist.
Without a President Obama appointing 2 pro-constitution/ civil liberties justices, basic liberties that have wavered on the brink in recent years will be lost.
A McCain presidency would do away with habeas; strip important safeguards from potentially innocent inmates; prevent minorities from voting, and skewer elections away from poor ad minority voters and towards the very rich.