Friday, May 01, 2009

Supreme Law of Averages

As it happens, we were in the audience last week when a speaker pointed out that the bloc of four of the most reactionary justices in the past century of Supreme Court history, as a matter of averages, more likely than not will continue doing their worst from the bench for at least the next quarter century. That would be until 2035 or 2040.

After Justice David Souter's resignation, the average age of all eight remaining Supreme Court justices is about 69.31 years (with modest rounding-off). The average age of the three remaining "liberal" justices is 78.33 years old. The average age of the four most conservative justices on the Supreme Court is 61.41 years.

Barring the unexpected and unusual, there is no way President Obama can tip the balance of the Supreme Court -- even if Justices Ginsburg and Stevens were to live to be a hundred and ten.

John Roberts, 54 (Jan. 27, 1955)
Clarence Thomas, 60 (June 23, 1948)
David Souter, 66 (Sept. 17, 1939)
Stephen Breyer, 70 (Aug. 15, 1938)
Anthony Kennedy, 72 (July 23, 1936)
Antonin Scalia, 73 (March 11, 1936)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 76 (March 15, 1933)
John Paul Stevens, 89 (born April 20, 1920)
Samuel Alito, 59 (born April 1, 1950)

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