People For the American Way

“The Number One Reason to Vote”

Last night on MSNBC, Lawrence O’Donnell discussed what he called the number reason to vote in the presidential election.

With 259 days to go until the presidential election, tonight I am going to skip over 258 reasons to vote and tell you the number one reason to vote for president of the United States.

[T]he number one reason to vote is the same number one reason you always have to vote for president. The Supreme Court of the United States. The president chooses justices for the Supreme Court subject to confirmation by the Senate. Choosing a Supreme Court justice is the most momentous decision a president can make. Supreme court justices stay in power longer than any war we have waged. They can stay there for the rest of their lives if they choose. They are the final arbiters of fairness and justice in our society.

No matter what issue you care about – immigration, job discrimination, consumer protection, LGBT equality, religious liberty, healthcare, reproductive rights, you name it – lawsuits about it will end up before the Supreme Court. Under the Roberts Court – the legacy of George W. Bush – that often means that legislative acts passed to protect the rights of individuals will be severely undercut or eliminated altogether. Just ask Lilly Ledbetter.

President Obama has shown us the kind of Justice he would nominate in a second term: jurists like Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who have both distinguished themselves on the court for their commitment to individual rights, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

In contrast, Mitt Romney has selected rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork to chair the committee advising him on the Constitution and judicial matters. And Rick Santorum has made clear his admiration for Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Alito, and Thomas, while making it clear that the conservative Anthony Kennedy is not conservative enough for him. So we know the type of Justices they would nominate if they have the opportunity.

Something to think about as we vote in November.


Antonin Scalia, Barack Obama, Clarence Thomas, Election 2012, Elena Kagan, John Roberts, judicial nominations, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Robert Bork, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court