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. Bayou joe

    We already know that piece of information and that is why we will never permit the Presidency to be in the hands of the Lef Wing Democrats.

    Hillary or McCain. Those two we can trust with our country's future.
    Not Obama, Not now not ever.

    The Cat is out of the bag. We know where he and his wife stand on the issues and their lack of loyalty to hard working Americans of all Races.

    May 12, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Devon - NorVA

    That is all that I need to remind myself why I am a Democrat! The absolute worse administration in our nation's history is so close from being out the door! We CAN NOT let them continue!!!

    ALL of US are hardworking Americans, who love this country, every good, bad and ugly of it! Our rights have been trounced on! Our party has been bashed for years. All this from the most hypocritical and arrogant group of politicians in history.


    May 12, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Bring Unity not Divide and Conquer

    I don't think we should dump on hillary's supporters, because they still have some moral beliefs and not all of them are stupid. McCain definitely has alot of terribly flawed policies and it's our duty to get to know the one candidate that is trying to put us back to the 1950's. He does not speak for everyone and it's a terrifying thought that he could take away our basic human rights so he can appeal to right wing radicals.

    May 12, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Sherry in Kentucky

    This is serious this time guys. . . after W's appointments and then possible 3 more by John McCain and the ones that were already there to begin with. . . this would tip the balance for the first time in a very long time. . . For all of you thinking this is no big deal and roe v. wade could not be overturned because it was not overturned in previous republican administrations. . . . remember that in previous administrations the composition of the Supreme Court was much different and far more progressive than it is now. This time it is URGENT

    May 12, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  5. VICKY

    Yesterday when my daughter came to see me for mothers day, I told her to never fight even when she can not win. In other words, Hillary is in a state of denial and delusional something our country can not afford!

    May 12, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. Wayne, Greenville TX

    The Supreme Court question alone is enough reason to vote for the Democratic nominee – whoever it turns out to be. The country could not survive with another Antonin Scalia or Clarence "Dumber Than Dirt" Thomas on the Court.

    May 12, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  7. unelectable

    The supreme court judges are SUPREMELY important -as an extra shuck and jive to get obama ELECTED.

    Thats what its really about isnt it?

    Doesnt matter if brittney spears is the candidate, lets make it about an issue you MUST SUPPORT the democrat no matter what.

    Yee haw, aint the corrupt liberal media grand ?

    May 12, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. James

    The media want to keep this race going so that they can continue to rake up money. They are almost asking for another debate that is not worth listening to. We had Rev. wright watch,superdelegate watch, now we have Hillary dropping out watch.
    Thank to you Hillary for keeping us busy and being delusional!

    May 12, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  9. Mike from Westchester

    The ability to appoint Supreme Court Justices and other judges is very important, but one of many important issues riding on the general election.

    Taxes, war, energy policy, environmental policy. Where our money gets spent – war, tax breaks for the wealthy, and corporate welfare...... or education, infrastructure and a helping hand for the needy. Let's keep our focus and get with it.

    Unite behind our candidate. Voting against our candidate or staying home is voting for war and long-term harm to our country at the expense of deficits that reduce future prospects for our own children and grandchildren. This is an easy choice.

    Anyone who did not support Gore and Kerry bears responsibility for what Bush and the neo-cons have done to America. Not supporting our 2008 nominee will be just the same.

    May 12, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Dennis

    This is a huge issue, and it is a major reason that, as an Obama supporter, I'd vote for Senator Clinton should she manage to secure the nomination. The new justices will have a say on issues ranging from abortion, treatment of prisoners and detainees in the war on terror, to the power of the government to tap our phones without a warrant or acquire information about our private activities without just cause or a warrant. Our liberties have been eroded under the Bush administration. While I believe that they won't significantly decline under a McCain presidency, I believe they would be better off under a Democratic administration.

    May 12, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Ed

    Joe Lieberman, who ran as a quasi-Democrat independent and squeaked out a win last time, is definitely in his last term. There is no way that the liberal voters of CT will be fooled again into voting for that nutbag.

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


    Your "Scare" tactic didn't take!

    Obama will do far more harm to our nation than McCain!

    We are in BIG Trouble and need an experienced Leader who knows what they are doing.

    Obama is clueless and lacks the support to win.

    May 12, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Sorry Not this Time

    I am with Bucks co. on this one. I have always voted Democratic for 28 years, and care about winning elections. But since the liberal wing of my party (of which I am a part) care more about one uping the Clintons than winning elections, then Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Rep. Cohen, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, Bob Hubert and a whole host of others can have their mean sprited fun, but based on "our" Party's demographics, Senator Obama is going to lose bad, so count me this election. In November, these are the people will have no one else but themselves to blame for Roe v. Wade being overruled, Iraq and a whole host of other problems that will exist because they actively gave McCain the White House.

    May 12, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  14. gerald strother

    Wolf GET A LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 12, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Jody Monroe

    For all your MOTHERS who think it's OKAY to kill your kids.... YOU need your heads examined! YOU chose the actions that led to your pregnancy, YOU are responsible, now you want a quick fix to the situation YOU created... by "getting rid" of your own child! Shame on you, irresponsible Moms.

    ALSO, I've been around long enough to know that the President of our country does almost NOTHING that affects my daily life. The ONLY important thing I've seen a president do is to appoint judges. If you think a knight in shining armor is going to come along and whisk away all your problems of health care, foreclosure houses, gas prices, economy, GET A CLUE!

    May 12, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Geri

    Lets get the nominee issue settled before we start worrying about who they would elect as justice.

    May 12, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Independent

    That is one of the major issues of the campaign. I firmly believe that McCain will nominate someone who will help to overturn Roe V. Wade. That would be a travesty of justice for women in this country. If there will be a need for a Supreme Court appointment, both candidates will need to have this issue in the forthought of their appointment.

    May 12, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Joe

    It's time for Hill to fold her stuff and leave!

    May 12, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  19. john

    ATTN: Josie WA...yeah, and you probably as a senior, recall ducking sniper fire.

    May 12, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  20. Jenn

    To me this is the single most important issue in the presidential election. Not just the SC appointments, but those to every federal court. 80% of current federal court judges were appointed by republican presidents, and they are appointed for life.
    It's why every time I see a so-called democrat who claims they will vote for McCain if their candidate doesn't win the nomination it makes me want to scream. If you are a democrat then be a democrat, otherwise call yourself an independant. If you cannot see beyond the surface issues then please educate yourself.

    May 12, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Gerry In Toronto

    I would think this is a huge issue for women. I can't imagine any of them voting for John McBush.

    May 12, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. Sure

    Each candidate could show great unity potential if they were to nominate a mix of more liberal and more conservative justices.

    May 12, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Alex

    Lieberman is the real Judas. It is a shame for a person who once runs under democratic banner for VP to fight the party because it was hard for him to accept an outcome of a democratic process. For Lieberman principle does not mean much that is why he does not care if McCain appoints Justices that turn over Roe Vs Wade. It is politicians like him that voters should weed out of the political system. Politicians that give up their own principle and value when faced with difficult decision that has impact on their self interest do not deserve to be in public office.

    May 12, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Wow, is Jody Monroe scary

    Yes, by all means, let's force women who become pregnant to have the baby so that either: a)They'll be unable or unwilling to care for it once it's born or b)The child will be placed up for adoption and possibly never find a good home and remain a charge of the state.

    Abortion isn't exactly a mother thinking it's okay to kill her kid...that's like the explanation I'd expect a 6-year old to give

    May 12, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. No More Years, Lake Forest CA

    The Supreme Court is the whole ballgame, folks. If you're a Clinton supporter who's bent out of shape that Obama gets the nomination, or if you're an Obama supporter who gets bent out of shape if Clinton gets the nomination, and you vote for McCain because you're unable to get past the bitterness of the primaries, you can kiss reproductive rights, privacy rights, and other civil liberties goodbye.

    Let's all be grown-ups, get out of the sandbox, stop calling each other names and focus on what really matters.

    May 12, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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