The press announced yesterday that Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Renquist has cancer, the third of nine justices to meet this fate in recent years. The news seemed good, in that his cancer was caught in time and that the eighty-year-old judge would be ready for the next session of the Supreme Court, which begins its work next week.
I’m happy for Renquist, but concerned for our country. It’s clear that our Supreme Court justices are aging, and it’s probably a given that the next president of the United States will be in a position to appoint one or more new Justices to replace aging incumbents.
So I look at our presidential candidates with a new perspective. I’ve already determined where I stand regarding each runner’s position on the Iraq situation. I’ve also signed off on each politician’s war record; that is, the creaking record of thirty years ago. But now I see the election winner may have an opportunity to affect not only his four years, but also the decades to come.
In truth, this is scarier and more important to me than soldiers being killed in Tikrit, in the Dow Jones taking a dive, or in revelations of missing weapons in Iraq. The selection of Supreme Court justices influences the fabric of our lives from muted colors to vibrant hues. From conservative opinion to liberal point of view.
This situation makes it even more imperative that people vote, because their ballots weigh in on the far-reaching future. Long after President Bush or President Kerry has left the scene, we’ll be influenced by the next appointments for the Supreme Court.
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