As the Supreme Court officials opens its 2009-10 term today, the docket includes cases concerning campaign finance, gun rights, animal cruelty, separation of church and state and life sentences for juveniles, reports the Washington Post.
The court has a new member: Justice Sonia Sotomayor, now in the seat occupied for 19 years by retired Justice David Souter.
For the 11 years between 1994 and 2005, the composition of the Supreme Court remained unchanged. And now, within the space of four years, there have been three changes. It may be that President Bush’s most long-lasting legacy will be his appointment of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. They have tipped the court in a dramatically more conservative direction. As for the newest justice, President Obama appointee Sotomayor, she is not expected to make as much of a change in the overall ideological makeup of the court because, to oversimplify, she is a moderate liberal replacing a moderate liberal on the court.