The Supreme Court Might See Massive Change In Next Presidential Term

It seems likely that the Supreme Court might see massive change in the next Presidential term.

The automatic thought is that of course, the odds of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer leaving by one method or another, either death or retirement, seems likely as they are now 87 and 82 respectively.

If this happens with Joe Biden as President, the seats will remain in the liberal camp, so the news of Ginsburg again in the hospital, but supposedly recovering well, makes one’s heart skip a beat.

The thought of another Donald Trump appointment before the election is a horrible thought, but likely would happen if she were to leave the Supreme Court in the months before the election.

But beyond Ginsburg and Breyer, there are four other potential changes that could occur.

Both Clarence Thomas (age 72) and Samuel Alito (age 70) have been rumored to be thinking of leaving the Court, but no sign they would leave right now. But if they did in 2021 or after, with Joe Biden in office, these two most reliably conservative members would be likely replaced by nominees more to the left in their constitutional views.

Additionally, it is well known that Sonia Sotomayor (age 66) has a strong case of diabetes, and there is some speculation she might leave for health reasons at some point.

Finally, Chief Justice John Roberts (age 65) has had seizure issues, and could have died when he collapsed in 2007 on a deck while fishing, but fortunately did not fall into the water with no one nearby, and was instead found after the event. But he now has had a concussion, and one can wonder if it is related to his seizure issues, for which he takes medication. So it is possible to imagine him leaving the Court at some point.

So with the uncertainties of life, the six longest serving members of the Court could end up leaving the Court sometime between now and 2025. This would affect the balance of the Court on many cases that will come up in the future.