Quote from Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision.
Just think, if Barack Obama hadn’t been elected president and hadn’t appointed two Supreme Court justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, there likely would not be a 5-4 Supreme Court decision in favor of gay marriage.
The 6-3 decision in favor of Obamacare might have well have been a 5-4 decision against it without Sotomayor and Kagan.
And Obama may get more opportunities to shape the court. The court’s oldest member, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 82, said in 2014 she might like to remain on the court for a couple more years. The next oldest justices are Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both 79. If Obama doesn’t appoint three more justices, it’s certainly likely the next president will do so.
But it’s important to remember that the United States has an independent judiciary — Supreme Court justices aren’t bound to the ideology of the presidents who appointed them. They are supposed to be open-minded, open to persuasion, reason and the best arguments.
Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, wrote the majority decision affirming Obamacare in both cases before the high court. Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, wrote the majority decision legalizing gay marriage.
It’s also important to remember that the Affordable Care Act was originally a conservative Republican proposal, not a radical liberal proposal to do away with insurance companies and nationalise the health insurance industry.
And that gay marriage is inherently conservative — a desire on the part of homosexuals to take legal vows to commitment, fidelity, stability, intimacy with one person. So, while these two Supreme Court decisions, coming one day apart, certainly reinforce the power that President Obama has wielded in American life, the changes he has sought essentially represent conservative values, if by conservative we mean the preservation of traditional institutions like marriage and a public-private health care system.