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Can you name the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States of America ? Most people cannot. even lawyers and law students who study their decisions. In this cloak of near anonymity, the Supreme Court will decide cases in the coming months with real impact on worker rights, investor protections, health care and other issues that affect the personal finances and lives of Americans.

"The Supreme Court is spending more of its time in recent years on pocketbook issues that affect us all, and to a greater and greater extent the Roberts court is tilting away from workers and retirees," said Simon Lazarus, public policy counsel for the National Senior Citizens Law Center.

A new dynamic this session comes with new justice Elena Kagan, according to the AARP Bulletin, marking the first time three women have served on the court. But she is not likely to change its ideological balance. Five of the justices were appointed by Republican presidents, four by Democrats, almost the same ratio as for all federal judges. There is a wonderful diagram on the Court’s official site that shows which member of the Court was appointed by which President.

An analysis published by the Brookings Institution of thousands of federal district, circuit and Supreme Court rulings found "striking evidence of a relationship between the political party of the appointing president and judicial voting patterns." The study found significant differences between Republican and Democratic federal judges involving disability discrimination, affirmative action, sex discrimination, labor law, environmental protection and campaign finance. Since the ascendancy of conservatives, Supreme Court decisions have included the 2000 ruling that assured George W. Bush’s presidential election and the decision early this year that gutted campaign finance law and unleashed a torrent of new campaign spending, mostly against Democrats. If you do not think who is on the high court is important, think again. What the justices decide is extremely important to us all, and they are appointed for life !

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