Supreme Court at stake in presidential election

I wonder how many Americans have an understanding of what is probably the most profound consequence of the 2012 election. With several of the U.S. Supreme Court justices in their 70s, it is expected that anywhere from one to four justices will retire during the next four years, leaving vacancies to be nominated by the president who is in office at the time.

Currently, the court is evenly divided between moderates and conservatives, which is a good thing so that no political ideology will consistently affect laws and life in the United States.

When the Constitution was written, it was applicable to the times. It was a thoughtfully-conceived document, written by intelligent men who had great concern for our country. Obviously, the framers could not foresee the future and what social changes would occur. However, growth, technology, and societal changes have made it necessary to alter certain concepts as well as realities of current life.

If a conservative Republican is elected this year, he will nominate equally conservative people who share his ideology to serve on the court. Many of the liberties which we now enjoy that are not specifically written in the Constitution, that are not supported by the conservative philosophy (if it is not specifically written in the Constitution, it cannot be given), will be discarded and precedents (such as Roe v. Wade) will be overturned.

Economic circumstances come and go, wars are won and lost and elections change every four (or eight) years. But Supreme Court decisions last for decades, often lifetimes.

I think it behooves every American to thoughtfully examine and ramifications of this election and to think in the long term, not the short term, for their own sakes as well of all the citizens of this great country.

Arlene Gordon, Baltimore

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