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My one political public service announcement for the dayweekmonthyear.

If you have any interest in how this country will work for the next four years (or much longer; it's very likely that the next president will get to appoint at least one SCJ...), go vote.

Even if you are not listed on the registry (for whatever reason), you can still cast a provisional ballot. Wreak havoc with the system.

If you live in Maryland or the District, polling places are open tomorrow from 7AM to 8PM. Virginia polling places are open from 6AM to 7PM.

Virginia residents can locate their polling place at this site. You may also find contact information for verifying your Voter Registration status here.

Maryland residents can locate their polling place at this site, though it requires information that is located on your Voter Registration card. (If you do not have that information, you may contact your County Election Office.)

District residents can located their polling place at this site. You may also check your Voter Registration status here. There is contact information for the Board of Elections and Ethics here, in case you need additional information.

Keep in mind, if you are a registered voter, you will only be allowed to vote at the appropriate polling station. So, unless you fancy a lot of extra driving and line-waiting, do your best to determine beforehand exactly where it is you are supposed to show up. And bring a walkman / book / iPod / PDA / water bottle / etc to pass the time, as there are likely to be lines. And a photo ID is essential. And hey, if you have your Voter Registration card, why not bring that, too?

I think I have used up my political posting bits for the year, now, and I'm going to go back to my corner.

Brockman: This is Kent Brockman reporting from ... my own home, in accordance with the new curfew for anyone under seventy.
Marge: Mmm ... I can't believe that passed.
Lisa: I warned you guys that seniors always vote in record numbers!
Brockman: The controversial measure passed by a single vote.
Marge: Oh, you really should have voted, Homer.
Homer: Pfft, it wouldn't have made a difference.
Abe: [from window, with flashlight] Lights out, you punk kids!
the next president will get to appoint at least one SCJ

There's a near certainty that two justices will be replaced in the next four years, and a fair chance that two more will go.

The nearly-guaranteed: Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice John Paul Stevens. Chief Justice Rehnquist is 80 this year, and has recently been in the news because he's been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and is undergoing chemotherapy. Of the three consistently conservative justices, Justice Rehnquist is probably the least conservative. If he does in fact leave the court, the President will have the opportunity to name a new Chief Justice. Note that the President need not elevate a current member of the court to that position; he may nominate someone not currently on the Supreme Court to be the new Chief Justice.

Justice Stevens is 84 this year. While he has no substantial health issues currently in the news (he has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, but that is a common disease in men his age, and prostate cancer is unlikely to kill him before some other health issue intervenes) his age alone is enough to make his continued tenure on the court questionable. Justice Stevens has been called the most liberal member of the current Supreme Court. While I still think that title is in dispute, there is no question that Justice Stevens is one of the four consistently liberal justices.

The merely likely departures are Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Justice O'Connor was treated for breast cancer in 1988; should it return or other substantial health issues crop up, she may retire. She is 74 this year. Justice O'Connor is one of the two swing members of the court; her vote is one of the key ones in closely-contested cases.

Justice Ginsburg was treated for colon cancer in 1999; much like Justice O'Connor, if the cancer returns, or other health problems arise, she may retire. Justice Ginsburg is 71 this year. Like Justice Stevens, Justice Ginsburg is one of the four consistently liberal members of the Supreme Court.

George W. Bush has stated that his ideal candidates for the Supreme Court (and, presumably, all other federal courts) are judges like Justices Scalia and Thomas. It is entirely likely that if Bush gets the opportunity he will elevate Justice Scalia to the post of Chief Justice. Other Bush-appointed justices would likely be in the mold of Scalia and Thomas.

Kerry, on the other hand, has stated that he would appoint judges who would "protect our rights and liberties". If Kerry gets a Democratic Senate, one possible candidate is Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. With a Republican Senate, a Tribe nomination will likely fail, even though Prof. Tribe is one of the foremost constitutional law scholars in the nation.

So, it sounds like being a Supreme Court justice pretty much guarantees you'll get cancer. I wonder what they put in the water at the courthouse...