10/25/2012 10:08 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

52 Reasons to Vote for Obama: #24, Supreme Court Appointments

Whether you're PRObama, NObama, or still undecided, 52 Reasons to Vote for Obama gives you all the information you need to share with friends, debate with relatives and decide for yourself as we head toward one of the most important elections of our lifetime. I'll post a new reason in random order every Monday through Friday from now 'til the election.

In perhaps no greater sphere do presidents have a longer lasting impact than in the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court. Decisions made by an appointee to the Supreme Court can have consequences decades after a president leaves office. Rulings by the Court affect every aspect of American society and can touch literally every man, woman and child in the country.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg plans to retire in 2015, giving Obama his third appointee if reelected. Electing Romney would be devastating to the future of the Supreme Court and the country. If Romney is elected and Ginsburg retires, over the next four years a real shift in power would occur. Romney is likely to appoint an ultraconservative who will cement right-wing domination of the Court, likely leading to decisions against choice, affirmative action and the freedom to marry, among other issues.

2012-10-24-court.jpgIn contrast, look no further than Sonia Sotomayor, Obama's first Supreme Court appointment, the first nominee by a Democratic president in fifteen years. Sotomayor, like Obama, is the embodiment of the America Dream. The first Latina on the Court, she was raised by a single mother in a Bronx housing project and worked her way up to graduate from Princeton University and Yale Law School.

Obama's second Supreme Court appointment was Elena Kagan, who represents a newer, younger perspective, drawing more from experiences outside the courtroom as well as knowledge of the law. Kagan and Sotomayor, along with Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, provide a liberal counterweight to the extreme conservative bloc that includes Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Anthony Kennedy is considered the lone "swing" vote.

According to an analysis by the New York Times, four of the six most conservative justices who have sat on the court since 1937 are serving now (Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas). Even Justice Kennedy is in the top ten. Any more conservative appointments would tip the Court so far to the right it might fall over.

One need only examine the recent ruling upholding the centerpiece of the unfair and draconian Arizona immigration law, which requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person may be an illegal immigrant. And while a bare majority upheld the health care law, the Court may have dramatically limited the scope of the Commerce Clause, a provision Congress has used since the 1820s to expand protections for citizens. Justice Ginsburg warned that the Court's Commerce Clause ruling was "a stunning step back that should not have staying power."

An Obama victory this November is absolutely essential to protect the rights of all Americans, for decades and decades to come.

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