March of time: Three out of the nine Supreme Court Justices will be 80 by 2016
Scalia, Ginsburg and Kennedy will be octogenarians before the next election year
Three of the nine justices now sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court, that have previously decided many significant issues by 5-4 votes will turn 80 years of age before the 2016 presidential election. Antonin Scalia, an anchor of the court's conservative wing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an anchor of the court's liberal wing and Anthony Kennedy, who is often the decisive swing vote in 5-4 opinions will all have celebrated their 80th birthday by then.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, currently 79, will be 83 by 2016. She is currently the eldest of the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices.
Over the past 10 years, many decisive and significant decisions have been rendered by the high court by a margin of one vote.
For example, in its 2002 opinion in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the court voted 5-4 that a school-choice program in Ohio that allowed students to redeem tuition vouchers at private schools, including those with a religious affiliation, did not violate the First Amendment prohibition on Congress enacting laws "respecting an establishment of religion." Anthony Kennedy voted with the majority in this case.
In its 2003 opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger, the court voted 5-4 that it did not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment for the University of Michigan Law School to consider race as a factor in admitting students.
Kelo v. New London, in its In its 2005 opinion, the court voted 5-4 that a city in Connecticut could take property away from one private owner and give it to another private owner in hopes of increasing the city's tax revenues and that this did not violate the 5th Amendment which says government can take private property only for a "public use."
More importantly, in its opinion on the cases challenging the "Obamacare law," the court voted 5-4 that the federal government could force individuals to buy health insurance.
The following lists the nine justices from eldest to youngest:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, currently 79, will be 83 by 2016, nominated by Bill Clinton and seated in 1993.
Antonin Scalia, currently 76, will be 80 by 2016, nominated by Ronald Reagan and seated in 1986.
Anthony Kennedy, currently 76, will be 80 by 2016, nominated by Ronald Reagan and seated in 1988.
Stephen Breyer, currently 74, will be 78 by 2016, nominated by Bill Clinton and seated in 1994.
Clarence Thomas, currently 64, will be 68 in 2016, nominated by George H. W. Bush and seated in 1991.
Sam Alito, currently 62, will be 66 by 2016, nominated by George W. Bush and seated in 2006.
Sonia Sotomayor, currently 58, will be 62 in 2016, nominated by Barack Obama and seated in 2009.
John Roberts, currently 57, will be 61 in 2016, nominated by George W. Bush and seated in 2005.
Elena Kagan, currently 52, will be 56 in 2016, nominated by Barack Obama and seated in 2010..
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