U.S. Supreme Court

The Vision Thing Challenges Liberals

The future is bleak for liberals hoping to take back the Supreme Court: They stand little chance of changing the court’s direction in the near- or even medium-term, writes Linda Greenhouse of the New York Times.

Even if Democrats win the presidency, any vacancies on the court are likely to come from the liberal side, where the average age of the justices is 74. The average age of the five-justice conservative majority, on the other hand, is only 61.

The difficulties ahead haven’t diminished liberals’ enthusiasm, the story concludes. People for the American Way sent 400,000 e-mail messages last week touting a plan to take back the court.

Some supporters say political tactics don’t go far enough. They say liberals need to pursue a strategy honed by conservatives: Find constitutional issues that resonate with Americans, and find a way to market them.

Law professor Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago says conservative justices have figured out how to move the court to the right through bold assertions and strategies. Liberal justices, on the other hand, remain cautious, he told the newspaper.

“There’s not a voice on the court for significant social reform that the others have to respond to,” he said. “It skews the court’s internal processes and public discussion of the court.”

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