Damon Root on the Presidential Election and the Supreme Court


President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney sparred over matters large and small in this month's three presidential debates, yet when it came to one of the most pressing issues in American politics, the two candidates were strangely quiet. There was not a single discussion about the president's central role in appointing new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.

That silence makes even less sense when you consider the demographic forces at work, writes Senior Editor Damon Root. Of the Court's nine sitting members, four are now in their 70s. Libertarians in particular should give thought to the eventual retirement of 76-year-old Justice Anthony Kennedy, Root says. Although he's no card-carrying member of the limited-government movement—as evinced by his votes in favor of broad eminent domain powers and against letting states set their own medical marijuana policies—Kennedy is nonetheless the one justice currently on the bench who at least occasionally favors the basic libertarian mix of social and economic freedom.