May 12th, 2008
02:12 PM ET
13 years ago

Blitzer: This year, the Supreme Court hangs in the balance

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Blitzer: A one- or two-vote swing could make all the difference on the nation's highest court."] (CNN) - The next President of the United States will have an enormous opportunity to shape the U.S. Supreme Court for decades. That’s because several members of the court are getting up there in years.

John McCain says he would pick Justices along the lines of John Roberts and Samuel Alito, two conservatives nominated by President Bush. Barack Obama told me last week that he would favor nominees along the lines of Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, two liberals nominated by former President Bill Clinton.

Clearly, the two presidential frontrunners have a major disagreement on this critically important issue, and no doubt it would be a major consideration for voters in the fall.

Given the current split among the nine Justices, the next one or two members will have an incredible opportunity to shift the balance. Among the most sensitive issues that could be considered would be the future of Roe vs. Wade and abortion rights for women.

I raised this issue the other day with Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut who supports abortion rights. The former Democratic vice-presidential nominee strongly supports John McCain. Lieberman voted to confirm the nomination of Roberts; he voted against Alito. The future of the Supreme Court, he said, is “a big issue for me. I’m a lawyer. I’m a former attorney general.”

He supports McCain largely because of his stance on major national security issues. I asked him if he feared Roe versus Wade would be oveturned by McCain’s future Supreme Court nominees. “Look,” he replied, “I think it’s the law of the land.” But he would be “upset” if it were overturned. “This is an important issue. But there are a lot of important issues. One is to protect our security. Senator McCain is by far best prepared to do that.”

How important is the future makeup of the Supreme Court to you?

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (137 Responses)
  1. TexFem

    If John McCain has his way with the Supreme Court, abortion will become illegal.

    If there are any angry Clinton supporters who say they are going to vote for McCain- remember that you will be voting to make criminals out of women and their doctors.

    May 12, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. enoch needles

    It's the only reason I'd pull the lever for Hillary Clinton. All those petulant Hill Shills threatening to stay home or vote for McCain should have their heads examined. They'll deserve the America they get if McCain wins.

    May 12, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Jeff M.

    The courts should and will be a big deal for a lot of people. Many of the questions that could face the council of nine over the next decade may have serious implications for our society. In a way, appointing Justices is the most important duty a president has here at home if only because of the long-term effects of their decisions.

    May 12, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Marshall

    Thank you Wolf!

    May 12, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Democratic Unity

    Still feel live voting for McSame ladies? If you do, and he wins...LOL

    May 12, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Marshall

    Now who wants to vote McCain and give the republicans that power? Think before you vote people.

    May 12, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Nikole

    Thank you for bringing this up. Roe vs. Wade is EXTREMELY important to me. I do not understand how any so called feminist that supports HRC, would vote for John McCain, giving him the power to overturn Roe vs. Wade. It just doesn't make sense.

    May 12, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. nunn

    The media want us to start being afraid with sc nominees. Fear bomb people watch out!
    They want Obama to loose and mccain to rule 4years while Hillary comes back in '12. This country is so corrupt!

    May 12, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Anita in NC

    The possibe Supreme Court appointments could be a major playing card for the Obama general election campaign; if they learn to court the voters instead of intimidating them.

    May 12, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. Bill Young

    This is funny. All the comments that are posted about weaker news post and a report on something like this, which is a very important issue for the next President , has only a few post. And folks wonder why the media continue to feed us all these soap-opera type news articles, because WE, the people, react and respond to these stories instead of the stories/news that matter.

    May 12, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. USAF Sr. Airman

    I admit. I'm anti abortion but totally pro choice. Funny how that can work, huh?

    In other news, Obama picked up at least 4 more Supers today. Where is that news?

    May 12, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. joe

    It is not about suprime court judges, guns,abortion and other ideological stuff that most of the times the presidents don't impact our lives in a significant way, it is about economy this year. If anybody messed up our lives most was the last 7years and that is why we are talking about gas prices and other kitchen table issues. Give it up wolf!

    May 12, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  13. Darryl

    Eventhough I don't personally believe in abortion. I don't think the Supreme Court who is in office would ever rule against that decision. Each Justice would have to have multiple bodyguards.

    May 12, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  14. ken

    I see you through wolf. Try again please!

    May 12, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. Barry

    good lord... they say that in EVERY election. Wolf... come up with something fresh!

    May 12, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Kevin-Seattle

    This is why ALL DEMOCRATS should be voting for their Democratic nominee instead of this non-sense of if my nominee doesn't get selected, I'm voting for McCain or staying home. Democrats need to UNITE!!!

    May 12, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. AZM

    Roe V Wade is always a big deal to voters, although it's not to me.

    I feel it is a State issue and a waste of time at the Fed level... along with several other topics.

    The economy, war, immigration, housing, fuel, etc... are far more important. However, the selection of judges that make up our third branch shouldn't be taken lightly.

    At any rate... the congress must approve... and the Dems have that right now... and have had for some time... although they've done little so far.

    May 12, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Josie WA

    As a senior women I recall the days that women had back room abortions and some home contrived abortions. Unfortunately some of the women and children were mamed or severly damaged by these actions. Abortion is not a good option but at times some feel it's the only one. Laws will not stop them. Education, family support, CHURCH support, and options like adoption are the kindest safest avenues to choose. A vote for McCain is a vote for back room and home abortion, not that he would want this outcome, but history tells us this will be the result.

    May 12, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. tom

    We need a democrat in the white house PERIOD! I do think the negativity from Obama and Clinton supporters needs to end and I think the tone is the candidates' responsibility. For supporters of either to say they'll vote for MCCain is both a sign of immaturity and self-absorbtion. It is apparent that Obama will win this thing fair and square and for Clinton or her supporters to suggest that some how Obama has "stolen" the election or the DNC is being unfair is just hogwash and poor sportsmanship.

    May 12, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. Marks

    It should be important to all Democrats and Independents, many Republicans to not let the Supreme Court be represented by only Conservatives.

    I'm still not comfortable with John Roberts given the Chief Justice title without earning time on the Supreme Court. I thought that ascension happened with years of ruling on the Supreme Court.

    Hillary supporters who are bitter she lost, pay attention to this especially!

    Don't give McCain any chance to sit more Conservative Judges on the Supreme Court.

    May 12, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Bucks co.

    The irony for you youngens is that many of the older women who will not vote for Obama are the very ones who fought for and won the women's rights that you all take for granted,an guesswhat? we're past the age of caring. We did our part and now all we get from you is insults, personal attacks and name-calling. Maybe you need to fight your own battles for a change. This grandma is writing in Hillary.

    May 12, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. Still Crazy After All These Years

    Wolf-"Court TV"- Bush/ Cheney vs.Gore/ Lieberman.

    May 12, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Democrats Rule

    In my humble opinion there are four issues in this election and McCain is on the wrong side of all four. 1) The war; 2) the economy; 3) Roe v. Wade; 4) universal health care

    May 12, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. meg

    I supported HIllary clinton or the Clintons here in CA till she used scortch earth republicans tactics to Obama. I would have loved her to win till I saw her through. Now she is in a state of denial. This race ended back in texas and nobody want to say that. Now she is playing a race card. Thanks to you HIllary and wolf!

    May 12, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Carol, WI

    Great reminder for those who might vote for McCain if their preferred Democratic candidate does not get the nomination from the party. Trying to get through another 4 years of Bush policy would be bad enough, but Supreme Court Justice appointments can influence us for decades. This is the issue I am hoping will remind people of the bigger picture when November rolls along so we can be united.

    May 12, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6