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A Supreme Court Shakeup24:50
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photoToday, the Supreme Court announced that Chief Justice William Rehnquist has thyroid cancer and had a tracheotomy last Saturday. Although expected to be back on the bench next week, at 80 years old, many wonder how long Rehnquist's tenure will last. Rehnquist is not even the oldest member of the court. Justice John Paul Stevens, at 84, is the oldest.

The current Court has sat for longer than any other nine judges in history. The next White House administration will likely appoint at least one justice. A second Bush term could swing the Court to the right whereas a Kerry presidency could swing it to the left. Who wins the election could make the difference in what decisions the Court hands down on issues ranging from abortion to states' rights.

Hear how the outcome of this year's U.S. presidential election could affect America's highest court, American law, and potentially America's way of life.

Guests:

Viveca Novak, Washington correspondent at TIME magazine

Pamela Karlan, professor of law at Stanford University. She is director of the Stanford Supreme Court Clinic, which litigates cases in front of the Supreme Court and co-author of The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process.

John McGinnis, professor of law at Northwestern University. He is former deputy assistant attorney general at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly.

This program aired on October 25, 2004.

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