With Docket Filling for the Fall, High Court Looms Over 2012 Election
The Supreme Court of the United States - as much as campaign spending, the news media, and political ads on television - is a force shaping the 2012 presidential campaign.
That’s not only because the justices will soon decide the fate of both the Affordable Care Act and the Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, but because the court’s docket for its term beginning in October has a number of contentious cases on it. Among them: the use of racial preferences in admissions to state universities, the ability of U.S. citizens to challenge the validity of the government’s use of electronic surveillance to detect terrorist threats, and whether federal law allows suits in U.S. courts over alleged human rights violations committed in foreign countries.
Other high-profile cases dealing with same-sex marriage, campaign finance, the Voting Rights Act, and an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote have a good chance of being added to the docket before October.
Election Day seems likely to serve as a referendum on the court itself, especially if the justices strike down all or parts of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the health care overhaul.
Obama has signaled that if the justices struck down the law, he would make “judicial activism” a theme of his campaign. In his 2010 State of the Union address, he already complained about the court loosening campaign finance rules in its Citizens United decision.