A New President Could Mean a New Court

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WASHINGTON -- The gavel's about to come down to start the U.S. Supreme Court's new term.

As usual, the rulings are likely to touch Americans' lives far and wide.

Click play to view Pat Robertson's interview with Jay Sekulow from the American Center for Law and Justice. Sekulow shares more on what's before the High Court this session.

Lawyer Curt Levey, executive director of the judicial think-tank Committee for Justice, listed some of the cases coming before the court to CBN News:

"Whether labor unions can negotiate away a worker's right to go to court; whether environmental protections override national security when people feel that Navy training exercises bothered dolphins; whether Title Nine -- the gender discrimination statute -- trumps the Constitution," he said.

The American Center for Law and Justice is also involved in a First Amendment case about whether cities that accept some religious monuments and memorials from private groups have to accept all of them.

And this term may start to see a radical altering of the court.

Because whoever gets elected president November 4, Obama or McCain, could well pick three and maybe as many as six new justices.

"Obama is on record as being a proponent of liberal judicial activism. McCain, on the other hand, has been very strong in terms of what he's said about judges, that he would appoint judges like Alito and Roberts," Levey told CBN News.

"So given the large number of vacancies that will occur in the next four to eight years, and given the stark differences in their philosophies on what judges should do, this election is all-important in determining the future of the Court," he said.

"The direction of the Court really for the next generation or more is going to be determined by who wins this election."

Levey believes John Paul Stevens, 88, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75 -- the most left-leaning Justices and also the oldest -- are likely to retire first because of health issues. And he believes the left- to moderate-leaning David Souter may also be ready to hang up his robe.

"Justice Souter, while only in his late 60s, supposedly is not really happy ... doesn't enjoy his job," Levey said.

That's where who wins the election becomes so crucial to the makeup of the Court.

As Levey explained, "If Obama were to replace those three, it would not change the makeup. However, you would then have three of the four liberal judicial activists would now be young instead of old. So it would mean very little chance of moving the Court significantly to the right probably in our lifetime," he said.

"If McCain were president and he replaced those three with people who are more in the judicial restraint school, who do not believe in liberal judicial activism, then I think it would change the Court dramatically."

*Originally aired on October 3, 2008.

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Paul Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Sr. Washington Correspondent

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