HOW WILL ELECTION AFFECT THE SUPREME COURT?: The surprise election of Republican Donald Trump as the next president, and of a Senate controlled by Republicans, will make a major imprint on the Supreme Court. “Republicans shocked Democrats by keeping control of the Senate, setting the stage for President-elect Donald Trump to enact a broad conservative agenda and ensure a Republican Supreme Court for a generation,” Bloomberg reported. The Washington Post said, “The political earthquake that hit Tuesday night has enormous consequences for the Supreme Court, swallowing up Judge Merrick Garland’s ill-fated nomination and dismantling Democratic hopes for a liberal majority on the high court for the first time in nearly a half-century.”
And if Senate Democrats aim to blockade Trump’s choices for the court, including one to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Republicans could change the rules to prevent that, according to Bloomberg. Senate Republicans waged unprecedented obstruction this year of Garland’s nomination. He was chosen by President Obama.
A New York Daily News article examined the 21 potential picks for the court that then-candidate Trump identified earlier and quoted Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, deploring a list of Trump favorites as “dangerous.” To read AFJAC’s reports on the potential Trump nominees, click here.
The court currently is shorthanded with eight members, sometimes evenly divided on key legal issues. In the wake of the election, “At stake is the ideological balance of the Supreme Court for decades,” Roll Call reported. “All eyes will now be on the court’s oldest members, [Justices Anthony] Kennedy and [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg,” according to The Washington Post.
Observed The Economist, “There are two ways to think about the future of the Supreme Court in the wake of last night’s stunning upset in the presidential race: taking Donald Trump at his word when he says he will load the bench with conservatives, or, in view of his penchant for changing his mind, taking these promises with a shaker full of salt. Neither offers much solace to liberals.”
STATE JUDICIAL ELECTIONS: In a costly (see Gavel Grab) set of state supreme court elections that were decided on Tuesday, the results were a “mixed bag” politically, according to Governing. One of the most notable outcomes was in Kansas, where conservatives mounted an ouster drive against four Supreme Court justices in a retention (up-or-down) election, and voters retained them all on the bench, according to KCUR.