Analysis: Obama may now seek to make deeper mark on high court
WASHINGTON | Thu Nov 8, 2012 1:03am EST
By Joan Biskupic
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's election victory on Tuesday may give him the opportunity to deepen his liberal imprint on the U.S. Supreme Court.
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With his re-election, the retirement of one or more justices in the next four years could preserve the present ideological balance or, more significantly, move the bench to the left.
The court's nine justices are selected for life and their appointments can rank among a president's most enduring legacies.
Four are in their 70s. Two - Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 79, and Stephen Breyer, 74 - are liberals. Two - Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both 76 - are conservatives. The biggest shake-up would come if either of the last two stepped down.
A swing in the liberal direction could foster a new receptiveness to campaign finance regulation. The five-justice conservative majority, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, has ruled against such regulation, most notably in the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission dispute.