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. Mike

    All 57 states of Obama would be in influenced by this.

    May 12, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. Mike

    Obama/Hamas 08

    May 12, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Kristine

    As a 34 year old married mother of two and Catholic, I feel as though Pro-Choice is the only way to remain. How dare anyone else tell me what to do with my body and my family! What in the world makes these "believers" think that by making abortion illegal, they will stop it? Did the "War on Drugs" stop drug use? Did Prohibition stop alcohol consumption? Stop trying to police morality!

    May 12, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Aces full of Kings

    Could you Hillary supporters please explain why you would vote for McCain? Could you? Because he was a war hero? Give me a break, he got captured by the Victor Charleys, how does that make him a hero? Because he has experience? Wrong again, if this man supports Bush policies and 100 years in Iraq, how does experience make him a better candidate than Obama. Oh, I know, because he's white. Guess you just labeled yourselves racists, hope you're proud of yourselves.

    May 12, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  5. Tim

    Hillary is telling women to keep fighting and be dilusional. How pathetic!

    May 12, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  6. Hillary or Bust!!!

    Is that your sutle way of scaring the Hillary supporters who are gonna move over to McCain in November?

    Well it won't work. McCain is not as conservative as Bush and as a Hillary supporter who will transfer over to McCain I trust him alot more than the 1 year ultra-liberal, left wing racist known as Obama.

    May 12, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. jimmy vekmen


    May 12, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. quercus in a quandry

    It is the liberal supreme court, legislating from the bench, that has destroyed the moral fiber of this country.

    If Ginsberg was loyal to her faith, she would be obedient to the word and spirit of God's law as given to Moses. She would not decide the cases with the interpretaion that she does. Shalom.

    May 12, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Randy - Denver

    I can only say that I for one am NOT willing to let this country move back to the 1960s where women were DYING in back alleys from "Coat-Hanger" abortions. What most of those who oppose abortion do not realize is that abortions HAVE gone on since before Jesus was born and WILL go on until the end of the Human race. The question is not "Should" it be done but "How Should" it be done. Me personally I woul prefer it done in a safe sanitary method to minimize the possibility of the death of the mother also. As a Catholic I have often debated with myself WHEN is an embryo a child, a person? The answer I have founbd is this one, if a mother spontaneously aborts (I think the number is 1 out of 20 conceptions) should she be tried for murder? voluntary manslaughter? What if she smokes or drinks two things that have been proven to raise the chance of spontaneous abortions/birth defects/premature birth/lower birthrate? You see it is NOty so cut and dried and therefore my opinion is if the embryo is VIABLE outside the womb it should not be allowed to be aborted if not, I am sorry but it has NOT reached the threshold of humanity yet. This does not mean I support abortion, I work long hours trying to prevent it but until EVERYONE who carries a sign outside an abortion clinic that says the mother is a murderer instead carries one that says I will pay for this pregnancy and will adopt your child then abortion should remain legal.

    That said the major reasons I lean towards the dems in this race is the abortion issue along with the idea that has been sponsored by the "right-wing" of the Supreme Court that a business is equal to a person and deserving of the same rights as a person. These two issues make me want a more "left-leaning" Court (i will not get started on Gay Rights.. ALL People are equal if marriage is sponsored by the state (and it is in America) than all Marrages, by concenting adults, should be respected and allowed. If marriage is simply a religious ceremony (it is ANOT) than the Church should decide who can get married.. rather straight forward it seems to me.

    May 12, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Clear Thinking Independent

    There will likely be at least 3 Supreme Court retirements in the next 8 years with at least 1 and maybe 2 before 2012.

    America is a country that is founded on balance, not idealogical superiority. The Republican Party has nominated the last two justices ... and the Chief Justice, I might add.

    The Democrats would do well to add that to the mix of the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, Dependency on Mideast Oil ... and all the vulnerabilities it exposes our country to (war, inflation, security risk, etc.) as they seek to put their petty differences behind them and focus on the fall election. To all their contituentcies ... don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

    May 12, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Hypocracy 08

    I'd hand the supreme court to McCain before I'd give it to Obama... No doubt about it.

    May 12, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. mike

    Obama leads with the number of superdelegates, Hillary clinton leads in a state of denial!

    May 12, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. R.I.F.

    Thank you Wolf. Maybe this will start cooling off some of the "if not Hillary, then Mccain faux democrats" Look, go ahead and pick McCain and watch the death toll mount up in Iraq, Roe vs Wade being overturned, an even weaker economy, and a "let them eat cake" approach to healthcare. Let's be adults about this. The stakes are too high to vote based on not liking someone else because they beat your canidate fair and square.

    May 12, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. ben

    I told my daughter not to immulate Hillary. She doesn't know when time is up and that can be risky for young women.

    May 12, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Oscar H. Villarreal

    As a lawyer, the make-up of the United States Supreme Court is of more importance to me than the executive or legislative branches of the government. Supreme court justices are appointed for life and a simple majority can rule any statute imposed by Congress as unconstitutional and that is the final say on that. Likewise, a simple majority can declare and action or omission by the president of the United States to be unconstitutional and that is the final say on that. Herein lies the inherent power of the Supreme Court.

    May 12, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  16. Beverly, NYC

    Senator Joe Lieberman, if you really are for a women's right to choose why are you supporting John McCain. Any man who would call his wife a filthy name, for commenting on a receding hairline is not someone who cares about women or their rights and hisSupreme Court nominees with reflect that. Think of that Hillary supporters when you switch your vote to him in November. You want some 14yr old having a back alley abortions because Row V Wade is overturned?

    May 12, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Lynn

    I voted for Hillary Clinton and completed paperwork to change to Independent. The DNC will not hold Roe vs. Wade over my head. Some Democrats, the DNC and the Obama Supporters. think they can get my vote after the way they have treated the first woman who has a change to be President. Dream on. We won't even talk about the media. ( I have never criticize Obama, but with 3 years of experience no way am I going to vote for him) Would a large company hire someone with 3 years of experience to be CEO. Of course not. Senator Clinton walked all over him in the debates, now the cry baby would not even debate her again. What will he do as a leader makes you think doesn't it. She knows her stuff, she brillant she would know what to do on Day 1. How long would it take Obama to learn the job like Bush never..

    May 12, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  18. Tim

    I think this is the one issue that may help to unite the democratic party. I know there will be a lot of Hilary supporters upset if she doesn't get the nomination. However for those who are stating they are going to stay home or vote for Mccain really have to think. Do I want a man in the office who is going to turn around and end abortion rights. I know many of you are upset now but please you need to think through the ramifications of your actions if you vote for Mccain. Besides do you want another republican in office to destroy the economy even more.

    May 12, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  19. Chris, Silicon Valley, CA, USA

    They say this every election year, because it is true every election year.

    May 12, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. mitchell from arkansaw

    president obama will choose good judges who represent the majority of americans.he's such a good president ,already.

    May 12, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Terry in fl

    The supreme court will be a mute point if we can't get a President who will save our countryy from self-destructing. With the influx of illegal aliens, including arabic extremists, I fear that the fighting will eventually begin in the streets of America. The terrorists want to bring the war to us and our politicians seem to think its only mexicans flooding across the border. If Obama becomes president, you'd better stock up on food and ammunition because the muslims are coming! I highly doubt the supreme court will be a priority once foreign interests have come to collect our debt . They already own more US property than actual americans do.

    May 12, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. RB

    Hmmm. "Getting up there in years"?? Does that mean 72 or older?

    May 12, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  23. An Agnostic Democrat

    Joe Lieberman is a political puppet for the flavor of the day and has no spine or morals. He plays puppet master only when Grampy McSame can't remember his lines, location or Middle East factions.

    May 12, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Kevin in Hanover, PA

    Which is why we shouldn't give an extreme leftist, teetering on Marxist, the chance to appoint even one Judge!

    May 12, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  25. Tracy, Chicago, IL

    Personally I hope most of Hillary supporters vote for Mccain, then Roe v Wade will finally be reversed once Mccain nominate more conservative judges.

    May 12, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6