Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 81, has indicated in recent interviews that she has no plans to retire despite some liberal calls for her to do so while Obama is in a position to name her replacement. By the end of the next president’s first term, she will be nearing 88.
Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy will both turn 80 during the 2016 presidential election year, and Stephen Breyer will turn 80 in 2018.
Depending on which spaces become vacant under which president, there could be a dramatic change on the court.
As an example, let’s say Hillary Clinton is elected president in 2016. If she were able to replace Ginsburg and Breyer, and either Kennedy or Scalia, she would potentially lock in a very young liberal majority in which none of the liberal justices was born before 1954. They could be around to make rulings for decades — overturning gun rights, cementing Roe v. Wade, and granting vast new regulatory powers to the federal government.