Trump himself has stated, “We are also going to appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold our laws and our Constitution. The replacement for Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views and principles. This will be one of the most important issues decided by this election. The politicians have talked about it, I’m going to do it.”
Critical and wide-ranging issues affecting the entire country will be ruled upon by the Supreme Court, including and not limited to abortion, free speech, health care, criminal procedure and defendants’ rights, voting laws, immigration, expansion of federal governmental power, gun control, taxation, constitutional interpretation, global warming/environmentalism, and much, much more.
The average life expectancy in the United States is 78.7 years, which coincides with the age of retirement for Supreme Court justices as being just shy of 79. Recently, conservative Justice Scalia also died at age 79.
With Scalia’s seat currently vacant, and with 3 seats currently occupied by two left-leaning justices, those near or over the age of 79 are justices Breyer and Ginsburg, as well as the moderate Kennedy, being possibly vacated either due to death or retirement in the next few years, there are up to 4 seats up for grabs.
Additionally, the remaining 3 conservative justices (Alito, Roberts and Thomas) each have at least 10 years of reasonably foreseeable service left.
Thus, Trump has the opportunity to nominate no less than 1, and possibly up to 4 younger, right-wing justices who will guarantee 7 conservative justices’ dominance of the Supreme Court for decades to come (barring ideological shifts as had occurred with Justice Kennedy, and a general trend towards left-leaning ideological development as seen in the above graph).