All the news these days centers on the Republican Convention in Tampa and the storm battering the Gulf coast. In the midst of that, let’s not forget stories like this: Texas redistricting discriminates against minorities, federal court says. The unanimous decision — handed down by three judges appointed by George W. Bush and one appointed by President Obama — is clear and direct: the congressional redistricting plan developed by the GOP leaders of Texas is discriminatory and cannot stand.
We all have good reasons (hopefully!) for making the choices we do at the ballot box. The President of the US has many powers and influences our country in countless ways. But long after any president forwards his mail from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, one of those presidential powers stands alone in significance: it’s his (her?) prerogative of nominating judges to the Federal Courts. Certainly the bench of the US Supreme Court is paramount there. But, as the story above reminds us, federal judges at all levels play a critically important role in implementing the laws of our country and ensuring that America — as the inscription over the Supreme Court building says — is a place where there is Equal Justice Under Law.
There’s no doubt that the next president will appoint at least one new justice to the Supreme Court, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg turning 80 next March (2013). Not far behind are Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both of whom are over 76 yrs. The next Court will have an enormous impact on the lives of LGBT people for years, perhaps decades, to come as it rules eventually on the cases that have challenged the federal “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). This decision will proclaim to the world whether LGBT Americans truly do enjoy the full blessings of liberty enshrined in our Constitution, or whether we will continue to live in a country where “some are more equal than others.”
This fact alone — the president’s right of nominating justices to the US Supreme Court — is sufficient for for me to support President Obama in his bid for re-election. What’s your reason for your choice this election year?