I was sitting around my apartment the other night and got a flash of judicial inspiration that I wanted to share. The Supreme Court Justices have a lifetime appointment but it seems that the most any Justice serves is approximately 33 years (on the high side). This is less, on average, than many people work on their jobs, especially those in professional, white-collar and some blue-collar occupations. William O. Douglas was the longest serving Justice (1939-1975), followed by John Paul Stevens (1975-2010). Since the founding of the Court and first Justice in 1789, the all White-male judiciary continued for 192 years until Sandra Day O'Connor replaced Justice Potter Stewart in 1981. Afterwards, Ruth Bader Ginsberg replaced Justice Byron White in 1993.
Now this is where it get's more interesting. Since the threshold for time served on the Bench is around 33 to 36 years or so, this means that several Justices could be retiring in the next decade; which includes: Justices Scalia and Kennedy. It is highly unlikely that Justice Thomas would stay if his good friend Scalia leaves. Justice Ginsberg, the oldest Justice, will probably retire due to age and health-related reasons. Justice Breyer might also retire from the Bench, unlike Justice Souter, who retired after serving 19 years. I predict that when these vacancies occur the Republicans will nominate a Conservative, African-American female federal judge (Janice Rogers Brown, or Edith Jones). This would be a smart move on their part because Democrats would not dare block her nomination for fear of alienating Black voters. In the process of time Republicans will nominate a White male, and because of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and the need to gain more Latino voters, nominates a male Latino federal judge.
The Democrats will eventually nominate a Black male federal judge, and the composition of the Court will not exceed 3 females because it only takes a minimum of 4 Justices agreeing to hear cases and that would radically alter the balance of power in the Court; something that the status-quo White males will not allow. The scenario of the Court in the future might look like this: A Conservative Black female Justice balancing a Black Liberal male Justice, and a Conservative Latino male Justice balancing a liberal Latina female Justice (Sotomayer).
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December 31, 2013