États-Unis : les nominations à la Cour suprême, enjeu des élections de 2016 Potomac Paper, No. 27, June 2016
With the death of Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States lost a beacon of conservative thought and one of the most influential American jurists of the last thirty years. The question of his replacement immediately became an issue as the United States looks forward to the presidential election in November. While past nominations to the Supreme Court have been relatively uncontentious, nominations today are affected by the polarization of American politics.
At the forefront of the debate is a highly politicized struggle between President Obama, who proposed judge Merrick Garland, a rather centrist candidate, and the Republican camp, which contends that a president at the end of his term of office should not appoint a new Justice to the court and thus refuses to even hold hearings for the nominee, let alone an up and down vote.
In addition to the vacancy caused by Scalia's death, four other current judges are likely nearing the end of their tenures due to their advanced age. America's next president may therefore have the opportunity to nominate a number of new Justices. If the democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is elected, the ideological composition of the court, generally considered rather conservative since the appointment of Scalia in 1986 could become somewhat more liberal. In view of the impact of the Supreme Court's decisions on many aspects of Americans' everyday lives and on the balance of power in the country, this would have considerable consequences for decades to come.
This content is available in French: "Les Etats-Unis : les nominations à la Cour suprême, enjeu des élections de 2016."