Re: USA politics thread.
I'm more interested in the appointments Obama will have to make to the US Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Ginsburg is 79 and has sadly been reported to be suffering from a terminal illness. But she is a liberal, so her replacement will not cause any net change in the ideological balance of the court, now on paper 5-4 for republican-appointed justices.
Justice Scalia, appointed by Reagan and one of the hardline conservatives, is 76. Justice Kennedy, also appointed by Reagan but considered a moderate and very often the swing vote in tight decisions, is just months younger than Scalia.
Then you have Stephen Breyer, a progressive appointed by Clinton, who is 74 himself.
Considering US Supreme Court justices are appointed for life and seeing the decision power the court has, I'd say their appointments are of crucial importance.