Aron Spotlights Debate Over Supreme Court in USA Today; McCain Criticized

USATodayLogoARON ON ELECTION STAKES FOR SUPREME COURT: The stakes for the Supreme Court in next month’s presidential election are “colossal,” Nan Aron, president of our sister organization, Alliance for Justice, wrote in a USA Today op-ed on the eve of tonight’s presidential debate in Las Vegas.

“With a vacancy now long overdue to be filled, and as many as three more seats that could be filled in the next president’s first term if aging justices retire, this election could be transformative for the Supreme Court. Presidents serve for four or eight years. Justices serve lifetime tenures,” Aron wrote. She also listed a range of related questions that deserve addressing by the presidential candidates, and lamented that recent coverage of the campaigns “has been swamped by stories of sex, lies, and videotape” rather than “what could be [the next president’s] greatest legacy.”

A CNN report, meanwhile, proposed questions for the candidates. including how Hillary Clinton would name Supreme Court justices. Regarding President Obama’s long-stalled nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland, CNN quoted Aron as saying recently, “The Supreme Court is hobbled and the risk of deadlock on critical questions is high.”

SEN. McCAIN THRASHED OVER COMMENTS:  Several editorials thrashed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., over his Monday remarks — later walked back by a spokeswoman — that Senate Republicans would unite to block any Supreme Court nominees put forward by a potential future Clinton administration (see Gavel Grab).

The Washington Post editorialized, “John McCain surrenders his honor to toxic partisanship — again.” Related coverage and commentary included a Los Angeles Times editorial, “GOP obstructionism gone haywire: No new Supreme Court justices until the next Republican president?”; “Supreme Court stand-off,” a Baltimore Sun editorial warning about a potential constitutional crisis; a Kansas City Star editorial, “Republican senators’ obstruction of justice continues”; a Cleveland.com op-ed by Jeremy Paris, “Failure to act on Merrick Garland leaves a shorthanded U.S. Supreme Court that harms all Americans; and The Hill, “Top Republican: Senate can’t ‘stonewall’ Clinton Supreme Court nominee.”

DIVERSITY IN JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS, AND AFJ: An in-depth Law360 article (subscription or registration required) examined Obama’s record for naming diverse federal judges. It quoted AFJ’s Aron as saying about the next president’s appointments, “There’s a need to take into account professional diversity along with appointing women and people of color.”

COSTLY STATE COURT ELECTIONS LOOM: In a release, the Brennan Center for Justice reported, “Outside Spending Surges in Important State Judicial Races as Election Day Nears: In just two weeks, outside groups have poured more than $1.2 million into state supreme court contests, heightening concern about the influence of money and politics on state courts.”