By Jeffrey Toobin
September 28, 2012
What’s the most important issue that neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney ever mention on the campaign trail?
The future of the Supreme Court.
Need proof? Try imagining how this election season would have unfolded if the justices had decided Citizens United a different way in 2010. Or suppose that the court had overturned, rather than upheld, the Affordable Care Act earlier this year. The Obama presidency, to say nothing of his campaign, might look very different today. As always, it was the Supreme Court that had the final word on what endures in the American government and in American life.
Citizens United transformed how campaigns can be funded, and the ACA case assured that 30 million people will soon obtain health insurance. But the stakes will be nearly as high in the other cases that will soon come before the justices.
The court begins its new session Monday, and this fall will consider the future of affirmative action in college admissions, in a case out of the University of Texas. And the justices are likely to decide whether the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is still constitutional. Same-sex marriage will probably come before them as well, either in the form of a challenge to the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act or in the test of California’s Proposition 8.