Preston Michigan

The Future of the Supreme Court

The next President will likely appoint between one and four Justices to the Supreme Court. This will determine the direction of the country for decades to come. What criteria will you use to appoint a Justice?

Dear Next President of the United States,

I am writing to you as a concerned citizen about one of the most—if the not the most—important and influential decisions you will make as President. This topic is closely intertwined with an enormous amount of other political issues. I would like to speak with you about the Supreme Court.

What is often considered to be the weakest branch of government has made and will make some of the most influential decisions in U.S. history. Within the next few years, it is probable that there will be an opening of three or even four Supreme Court Justice seats. This means that you have the power to choose the direction that the Supreme Court will take us in for the next few decades. So, the question is: what direction is that?

In order to answer this question, we must address a few criteria you might use in order to nominate a particular justice. The following topics are all issues I think are necessary to consider when looking at potential nominees.

Roe v. Wade has been a center of controversy ever since the court’s decision occurred in 1973. An issue as hotly-debated as abortion is sure to receive major attention in the future and that is why your decision on whom to nominate will so greatly affect this issue. If any similar case reaches the Supreme Court once again, your decisions may affect whether or not Roe vs. Wade is overturned.

Looking at more recent decisions, Obergefell v. Hodges is being contested by many spokespersons whether that be politicians or members of interest groups. Will you make upholding this same-sex marriage ruling a priority when considering possible nominees? Appointing a Justice who opposes this would be a large step back for equality in America so I hope your answer to the previous question is a definitive “yes.”

The most important issue that the Supreme Court must address is the ruling of Citizens United. Allowing large corporations to pour incredible sums of money into the political process is damaging our democracy. The largest hurdle in starting a successful campaign is the unnecessarily large amount of money required. Citizens United combined with this fact almost allows large corporations to choose candidates. Although all of the issues I have addressed above are incredibly important decisions, no issue is as momentous as the overturning of Citizens United. If there is one issue you must focus on in choosing a Justice, please let it be this one.

As I am sure you know, nominating Justices to the Supreme Court does require confirmation from the Senate. How you will you be able to select a nominee that fits your important criteria while still ensuring cooperation from the Senate?

Once again, you have the power to decide the direction this country takes. Use the nominations for the Supreme Court to take us in the direction of democracy and equality.


Preston VanAlstine 


Okemos High School

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