Or download the MP3
- Trump is unlikely to get the opportunity to replace more than one of the court’s liberal judges. To do even that, one of them would have to die (Most likely Ginsburg, but maybe Breyer) since none of them would dare to retire while Trump is President. Slate has this great calculator based the CDC tables which tells you the odds of any given judge or combination of judges dying and it puts the chances of one of at least one liberal justice dying at 56%. If this is the case then it is conceivable that the conservatives could end up with a 6-3 majority on the bench, assuming that Kennedy and Roberts continue to be counted on the conservative side of things. Which brings me to the second point.
- Both Kennedy and Roberts have become increasingly liberal over time. (See this graph.) In fact it’s quite common for a justice nominated by a Republican president to end up on the liberal wing of the court. Recent examples of this are: Blackmun, Souter and Stevens. The opposite, Democratic Presidential nominees ending up on the conservative wing, is basically unheard of. Thus even if Trump does manage to flip a liberal seat to a conservative one, there’s a good chance that one of the judges currently considered to be conservative will end up mostly siding with the liberal wing of the court. Witness Roberts’ votes on Obamacare and Kennedy’s vote on Same Sex Marriage.