It’s been a never-ending campaign, this presidential election of 2012, which began almost as soon as Barack Obama was elected in 2008. The campaign of 2016 is just a month away.
The lengthy campaigns have done nothing for quality. There’s still hope for the presidential debates, which begin this week. But the list of issues absent from the campaign is a who’s who of importance.
The Washington Post brings up one: The Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is almost always the dog that doesn’t bark in presidential campaigns, no matter how much scholars and activists on both the left and right lecture about its importance.
They are right, of course, that a Supreme Court justice with life tenure is one of the most lasting legacies a president can leave. Consider that Ronald Reagan’s last election was in 1984 but one of his choices, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, is the pivotal justice on today’s court.
On a divided court, Kennedy is the justice most likely to decide questions of gay rights, affirmative action, who is eligible for the death penalty and even how the presidential campaign itself is financed.
Kennedy is also one of four justices on the court who are still going strong when most mortals would be planning afternoons of bridge or fishing. Kennedy and fellow Reagan nominee Antonin Scalia are both 76. Among the justices on the left, Justice Stephen G. Breyer is 74 and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79.
That’s some serious old.
Today, the Court took a pass on some fairly important issues for the coming term