Liberals are worried about the Supreme Court.
Ian Millhiser wrote in Vox about the possibility of Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan retiring early so to make sure that Republicans aren’t able to fill their seats.
The article is titled “Sotomayor and Kagan need to think about retiring.”
Asks Ian Millhiser in “Sotomayor and Kagan need to think about retiring/The US Senate is a fundamentally broken institution. Democratic judges need to account for that in their retirement decisions” (Vox).
Is this a ludicrous suggestion? Millhiser has no news of ill health from either Justice (though “Sotomayor has diabetes”). His main worry seems to be that the Democrats are going to lose power — and for a long time. But at least they have the Senate and the presidency for these next 2 years. They could slot in 2 reliable liberal Justices — young Justices, 20 years younger than Sotomayor and Kagan. So give them the chance to do it while they can. That’s my paraphrase of Millhiser’s position.
In the article, Ian Millhiser also pointed out the 2024 senate map is bad for Democrats.
If Republicans take back the Senate and White House they may have a chance to appoint more conservative Supreme Court Justices.
The 2024 Senate map is so brutal for Democrats that they would likely need to win a landslide in the national popular vote just to break even. Unless they stanch the damage then, some forecasts suggest that Democrats won’t have a realistic shot at a Senate majority until 2030 or 2032. And even those forecasts may be too optimistic for Democrats.
If Sotomayor and Kagan do not retire within the next two years, in other words, they could doom the entire country to live under a 7–2 or even an 8–1 Court controlled by an increasingly radicalized Republican Party’s appointees…
Nor is the Democratic Party’s misery in the Senate likely to solve itself anytime soon. As Stanford political scientist Jonathan Rodden explains, “as you go from the center of cities out through the suburbs and into rural areas, you traverse in a linear fashion from Democratic to Republican places.” So long as this urban/rural divide exists, Republicans are strongly favored to control the Senate because of their dominance in low-population states.
So Sotomayor and Kagan should certainly keep a close eye on the polls in 2024, and may be able to justify remaining on the Court if those polls predict a dominant electoral year for Democrats. But if they remain for too long, the consequences for the law — and for the nation — could be cataclysmic.
Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer retired earlier in Biden’s term allowing Democrats to replace him with Ketanji Brown Jackson.