Hillary Clinton announced her litmus test for nominees to the Supreme Court on Thursday, and it includes a pledge that they would overturn the five-year-old ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.
Clinton made her remarks during a speech to a group of top fundraisers; according to those there, she was “emphatic” about her opposition to the 2010 ruling. The opposition to Citizens United earned her some of the strongest applause from the audience, which consisted of more than 200 party financiers.
One attendee, who requested to remain anonymous, told the “Washington Post” that, “She got major applause when she said would not name anybody to the Supreme Court unless she has assurances that they would overturn.”
Supreme Court nominations
The presidential nominations to the Supreme Court are one of the most lasting effects of every presidency. One of the reasons why Reagan-style conservatism has had such far-reaching consequences is because a number of judges that Reagan appointed are still on the bench, which includes two of the nine Supreme Court justices, Antonin Scalia and Robert Kennedy.
As “The Washington Post” notes, if the court doesn’t change by 2017, then four of the justices sitting on the bench will be 78 years or older — well past the retirement age. The youngest judge on the bench right now, Elena Kagan, is 50 years old, and the oldest, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, is 82.
The last time a Republican president nominated four judges, it was Ronald Reagan. It’s also worth noting Americans typically do not vote out incumbent presidents, so if a Republican gets elected president in 2016, they’ll likely remain president until 2024, and be in a position to replace four or more judges.
Clinton moving to the left?
Clinton’s pledge to use Citizens United as a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees echoes Bernie Sanders, her challenger for the Democratic nomination.
While speaking on CBS’ “Face of the Nation” on Sunday, Sanders said:
If elected president, I will have a litmus test in terms of my nominee to be a Supreme Court justice. And that nominee will say that we are all going to overturn this disastrous Supreme Court decision on Citizens United because that decision is undermining American democracy. I do not believe that billionaires should be able to buy politicians.
Clinton has made overhauling the campaign finance system a major part of her campaign, and reiterated during her fundraising speech that she supported a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, as well.
It’s entirely possible that Sanders’ presence could be pulling Clinton to the left, which can only have positive benefits.
According to the attendee, Clinton “is going to do everything she can. She was very firm about this – that this Supreme Court decision is just a disaster.”
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons