Gifted positions, Supreme Court justices serve terms for life. They are not removed when a new President-elect takes office. They aren't even voted for by the people. For a justice to leave their position, they are either impeached by Congress or the position opens as soon as the justice dies.
Or they retire.
Early last week, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his plan to relinquish his seat. This announcement came after two back to back controversial rulings. These cases ruled that a baker had the right to refuse service to a gay couple and that Trump's Travel Ban could be upheld. Whether one sees these rulings as a loss or victory, one thing is evident: the controversial decisions made in the past year may only be the beginning.
Why? Because Anthony Kennedy was the most moderate of the Justices. He was the vote to win over on those 5-4 cases (not all supreme court cases are 5-4, but the most heated ones usually are). Whoever fills this position determines whether the Court will shift towards the right or left. Currently, the Republican Party has the majority in both the House and the Senate, and it is well-known that President Trump is an avid Republican. Yet, the list of GOP members that do not support President Trump is quite lengthy.
This means that whoever he nominates is not guaranteed approval. The new justice may not support all President Trumps' ideologies, but they will most likely be a Republican in some sense of the word. If they are, the median of the Court will shift to the right, and so the Court will more likely become more conservative. If the new justice is a Democrat, then the court will shift to the left.
When the Supreme Court only takes on a limited number of controversial cases a year, it is terrifying to think how only one decision can impact American policy. Due to the lack of a term limit, this policy change can last for decades, if not longer.
Remember, there is no public Supreme Court vote. The only way the public vote has power is through our Congressional Representatives. Now is the time to place trust in your elected officials.
This appointment could change the course of history.