A friend asked this question of me today. It brought to memory all the radio and television talk show hosts who proclaim each election cycle that “this election is the most important of your life time”. I suppose they aren’t wrong. Each new election brings new rippling consequences, all of which set policy trajectories for years and decades to come. However, I do think this particular 2016 presidential election is one of the most pivotal elections my lifetime will see.
President Barack Obama has set America on a path to struggle both domestically and abroad. With more people out of the labor force than ever before, more on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP aka food stamps), more Americans living below the poverty line, we’re not doing too well. And with the proposed nuclear arms deal with Iran, there is a near certain military campaign looming in the next decade. That said, who’s political ideology will next grace the oval office will either continue our path, or deviate from it.
But there is one place where it makes all the difference in the world who is elected: judges. That’s right. The president appoints federal judges throughout their term. From the lower district courts to appellate and supreme court, the president’s political philosophies are represented by way of judges.
You see, while most people are concerned with policies (rightly so, of course), they rarely focus on judges. Regardless of which side of the political aisle you fall, if you’re a follower of the news and current events, I’m sure you’ve objected to some court ruling at one point or another because of some judge ‘legislating from the bench’. This happens when a judge reads into a law what he or she believes should be the law, and then rules in such a way that is inconsistent with it in favor of ‘righting a social wrong’.
My best advice is to focus on what seems to be the socio-political outlook of the candidates as much as what they promise. Determine their political outlook, where they believe the country should be. Take note of who they believe are the underrepresented in society because that’s who their judges will elevate and protect, letter of the law be damned.