NewsHour: The Future of the Supreme Court – July 13, 2000

MARGARET WARNER: Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court term ended with a burst of decisions on hot-button issues ranging from abortion to school prayer to whether the Boy Scouts could expel a gay scoutmaster. The fact that many of these cases were decided by a 5-4 vote prompted a flood of articles and editorials on how the outcome of this year’s presidential race could alter the balance on the court.

What’s more, both liberal and conservative groups are now trying to energize their supporters by arguing that this election could reshape the court for decades to come. For our own discussion of what’s at stake for the court in this Presidential campaign, we turn to Stuart Taylor, legal affairs correspondent for National Journal and Newsweek, and author of last week’s Newsweek cover story on this issue; Anthony Lewis, a columnist with the New York Times; C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel in the Bush administration, now in private practice in Washington; and Ralph Neas, People for the American Way and author of a 75-page report on this topic called "Courting Disaster."

Welcome, gentlemen. Ralph Neas, in this report, you wrote that the court is just one or two votes away from can your tailing fundamental rights that millions of Americans take for granted. Is there really that much at stake in this election?