Sometimes the Editorial Board of The NY Times gets it right, even if for the wrong reasons, as in this editorial, The Court and the Next President:
When Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. began the new Supreme Court term by congratulating Antonin Scalia on his 25th anniversary as a justice, it was a reminder that Justice Scalia is now 75 as is Anthony Kennedy and that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 78.
Since 80 is the average retirement age of justices over the past generation, whoever is elected president could shape the court for the next generation….
That’s about as much as The Times’ editors get right, and the rest of the editorial is devoted to bashing Republican candidates and the conservatives on the Court.
But The Times is right about the importance of the 2012 election for the next generation on the Court. Think of the Court without the genius of Antonin Scalia.
As I said in July 2010, If This Doesn’t Motivate You For November, Nothing Will. At that time I was talking about November 2010, and the attempt to regain control of the Senate in anticipation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg retiring, or worse, a conservative Justice retiring in what Jeff Greenfield called The (Possible) Mother of All Battles.
Fortunately, and unexpectedly, Justice Ginsburg is not retiring yet, and barring illness, the Court makeup will remain the same through November 2012. Given the ages of the Justices, the presidential election is the inflection point which will determine the next generation of the Court.