Don’t forget the Supreme Court

The Alliance for Justice (AFJ) held a panel discussion today in the Big Tent, and for once this progressive organization had something in common with conservatives: plenty of doom, gloom and fear about the future.

As current U.S. Supreme Court justices retire or die, the next president will make lifetime appointments which will determine whether the currently divided U.S. Supreme Court swings to the right or left for the foreseeable future. Yet the future of the court is often overshadowed in favor of media coverage of the presidential campaigns and various congressional horse races.

But Americans should think about the lasting legacy the next president will leave on the Supreme Court, and, in turn, the lives of every resident, said Nan Aron, president of the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign.

Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender Americans have reason to worry about future court appointments, as do women trying to secure equal pay for equal work, panel members said.

“Were just one justice away from so much damage that can be done to the LGBT families,” said Pam Spaulding, who blogs about LGBT issues.

“We know those vacancies are going to be incredibly important,” Spaulding said.

Christy Hardin Smith, a lawyer and blogger, said Americans’ international phone calls or even text messages and library records are currently subject to law enforcement searches.

Smith pointed out that the criminals are more likely to be picked up for a traffic violation, like one of the suspects’ allegedly trying to harm Sen. Barack Obama, than discovered through monitoring Americans’ private communications and transactions.