The Supreme Court and the 2008 Election:
Tom Goldstein has a very provocative post up at SCOTUSBlog on how the 2008 Presidential Election might change the direction of Supreme Court doctrine. Tom's bottom line: a Republican victory in 2008 could bring a fundamental and dramatic shift in the Court's direction, perhaps even undoing the work of the Warren Court and returning many areas of law to their pre-Warren Court status. The basic argument: Stevens and Souter may resign, and replacing them with conservatives could lead the Court on a radically different path.

  I look at things differently, and a thought experiment explains why. Imagine the year is 1969, the end of a decade of 5-4 constitutional blockbusters, and Chief Justice Warren has recently announced his retirement. A time-traveler from 2007 comes back and tells you the dramatic news about who would nominate the Justices of the next four decades. He explains to you that American politics would shift sharply to the right in the future, and that that in the next four decades 12 of the 14 new Justices — over 85% — would be nominated by Republicans.

  If you were told that in 1969, what would you guess about the status of the Warren Court's major decisions as of 2007? And fastforwarding to 2007, how closely would your guess of 1969 match the reality of 2007? My guess is that your guess would be pretty far off.

  Elections matter, of course. But on the whole, I think such a dramatic shift is significantly less likely than Tom's post suggests.