In 2009, when President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, women and minorities celebrated the country over. Even the conservative women in my inner circle of friends seemed reasonably pleased to see another strong woman joining the highest court in the land. Though she may not have shared their precise political ideals, this Hispanic woman from the Bronx seemed to make a positive impression on the public.
That was almost three years ago though, and much has changed in the political landscape since. So much has changed in fact, that voters and politicians alike are keeping future Supreme Court nominations nearer the front of their minds this election season. Recently, Vice President Joe Biden himself appealed to women voters to make future Supreme Court nominations a priority as they approached the polls this fall. He was speaking to liberal women, of course, but conservative women would be wise to heed his warning too.
Whoever serves the next term as president of the United States will likely nominate at least one Supreme Court justice. He will, potentially, have the opportunity to nominate more. Having been through the Supreme Court nomination process twice with President Obama, we’ve seen what kind of justices he would bring to the bench, but would Mitt Romney be as predictable? With his decidedly moderate track record and unfortunate flip-flopping reputation, it seems unlikely.
At first glance, having the “Etch a Sketch” candidate of the primary season sitting atop the GOP ticket appears to be a major strategy mistake on the part of the Republicans, but could conservatives distrust of their own candidate for the White House work in their favor? If conservative women voters remember to look at more than just the presidential elections in November, it just might. We may not be able to count on “The Rominee” to bring consistently conservative justices to the steps of the Supreme Court, but we could depend on a strong Republican presence in U.S. Senate to block any moderate justices he nominates.
In a time when a handful of the country’s touchiest topics are sharing the national spotlight -- issues like gun control, the government’s authority over commerce, and abortion requirements -- that might be a very good thing.