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Election results will have a huge impact on Supreme Court

HAD JOHN Kerry been elected president, the previous administration, dogged by questions of legitimacy and credibility, charges of corruption, and accusations of imperial adventurism, might have been seen as an aberration, a brief rightward list of the ship of state, quickly checked and balanced by the self-correcting mechanisms of our Constitution. Now that Bush has finally been elected, this time with the majority of both the popular vote and the Electoral College, we must recognize that the shudder in the hull signified a radical change of course.

There are many possible reasons for this swing behind the incumbent: fear of terrorism; susceptibility to the Goebbels-Orwellian propaganda machine.

Republican control of both houses of Congress will facilitate the executive's agenda in both domestic and foreign policy. It's poor form to make predictions in political science, but the platform is clear: less government in terms of services, protections, and public domain; and more government in terms of national security, privacy, and morality. This is the direction we have collectively acceded to.

Perhaps the most subtle, fundamental, and long-lasting effect of this election will be the ideological composition of the Supreme Court. Republican representation in the Senate is still shy of the three-fifths needed for cloture to end Democratic filibusters of the controversial nominees. President-elect Bush is poised to shape the court for the next generation, and he has already made his judicial preferences clear through nominations and recess appointments of far-right activist judges such as Charles Pickering and William Pryor.

America has spoken. The country is deeply and bitterly divided, and would have been as well had Kerry won. The electoral maps of red and blue states mask deeper ideological and cultural divides that run through our neighborhoods, and perhaps even ourselves. But amid all the post-election rhetoric of national unity, solidarity, and common purpose, let us maintain our principles and beliefs. Let our voices continue to be heard, either in celebration or desperation, and know that dissent is as American as faith.

Assistant professor
Endicott College

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