Feb 5, 2012 12:08 PM by Matt Stafford
WASHINGTON (AP) - A second term for President Barack Obama would allow him to expand his replacement of Republican-appointed majorities with Democratic ones on the nation's appeals courts, the final stop for almost all challenged federal court rulings.
Despite his slow start in nominating judges and Republican delays in Senate confirmations, Obama has altered the balance of power on four of the nation's 13 circuit courts of appeals. Given a second term, Obama could have the chance to install Democratic majorities on several others.
The next president, whether it's Obama or a Republican, also has a reasonable shot at transforming the majority on the Supreme Court, because three justices representing the closely divided court's liberal and conservative wings, as well as its center, will turn 80 before the next presidential term ends.