With the nomination of the new 49-year-old Supreme Court Justice, Gorsuch, one must wonder where the Supreme Court is headed in future years. If Gorsuch is confirmed, it can be expected that he will be a Justice for around 30 years, changing the balance of power in the court to 5-4, in favor of Conservatives. This presents a favorable future for Republicans; Democrats on the other hand will be quite alarmed by the potential future of the supreme court.
Obviously for Democrats this is alarming, and what’s worse is that Breyer, Kennedy and Ginsburg are over or close to over the age of 80; it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they resign or pass away under President Trump, meaning Republicans could have a presence on the court for years to come. As a historian, this greatly reminds me of the midnight justices appointed by John Adams which allowed the dying Federalist party to have influence over the government long after their party was dead. Even if the Democrats defeat either Trump or another Republican nominee, there is a potential, assuming all three at risk justices pass away or resign, for Conservatives to hold a 7-2 balance in the Supreme Court. This would have long-lasting effects on a number of precedents set by the Court recently. Cases brought forth could be about Gay Marriage, LGBT discrimination in business, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, United States v. Texas, and Fischer v. University of Texas are some of the biggest issues that come to mind. These cases will put issues such as abortion, affirmative action, and immigration on defense. If these deaths or resignations come to pass, these issues could be at risk and under siege for decades.
Obviously the future for Liberals in the Supreme Court seems bleak; however, here are a few things to keep in mind. Although Gorsuch is extremely conservative, he is very qualified for his position receiving degrees from Harvard, Oxford, and Columbia. He has a very consistent record of voting based on the law, not for what his party wants. He has been against executive overreach in the past and hopefully continues his record in the future if and when he is confirmed. He has also been very against using the courts to press his agenda by acting only as a judge. To quote the man himself,“when we judges don our robes, it doesn’t make us any smarter, but it does serve as a reminder of what’s expected of us: Impartiality and independence, collegiality and courage.” We can only hope that if he is confirmed he will continue these patterns and won’t be swayed by his party to giving them more power. Personally, I hope that the Senate confirms him because even if we don’t agree with him on all issues, he is extremely qualified and frankly it could be a lot worse like many of Trump’s other nominations. One thing we can all be sure of in these trying times is the strength of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She will live through Trump and hopefully many other presidents. RBG will never die!