This week's decision by the Supreme Court to end the moratorium on the death penalty by striking down a case that challenged the constitutionality of lethal injection should help bring the demographics of the Court into sharper focus.
And, regardless of who the Democratic presidential nominee is, come November, before casting a vote, think about this:
Bush picked Justice Souter who, compared with Alito and Roberts, is a flaming liberal. His son, as you know, nominated Justices Roberts and Alito.
With their latest decision, we got a sneak preview of the direction in which Chief Justice Roberts, who is a young'un compared with his associates, plans to take the Supreme Court given their 7 to 2 ruling against a challenge to lethal injection.
Over the coming years, the Supremes will have the opportunity to hear more challenges, like whether or not D.C. has the right to ban handguns, whether a woman has the right to control her own reproductive destiny, as well as decide on issues from electronic surveillance, retroactive immunity, what constitutes torture to if you must forfeit your right to litigate against an employer for pay discrimination because you didn't file your lawsuit on time.
Be scared, be very scared, and remember that the one who wrote the strongest opinion of all, on Wednesday, against capital punishment, calling it a "pointless and needless extinction of life," Justice Stevens, is the closest to retirement while his conservative colleagues, Justices Alito, Roberts, and Thomas, are young enough to be his children. Indeed, these Bush nominees to the bench are in their infancy.
Remember, too, that over the next 35 years, the Supremes will decide on issues we care about most, as well as those we can't even imagine. So, given that this President has already nominated nearly a third of those sitting on the Court, all lifetime appointments, one shudders to think what his chosen successor will do if given his turn up at bat, given that this executive branch has all but shredded not only the First and Fourth Amendments, but the Eighth Amendment, too.
Odds are, whoever occupies the Oval Office next will get to pick two more Supreme Court justices.
If protecting the integrity of the Supreme Court, and the balance of power, by keeping a level ideological playing field, isn't a good enough reason to defeat John McCain then what is?