The stakes are already quite high for the 2012 presidential election. It will likely determine the fate of Obamacare. If Republicans win the presidency, the House, and the Senate, there's a good chance they'll be able to repeal Obamacare--or at least gut it through reconciliation--and replace it with some commonsense reforms. If Obama wins a second term, the path to repealing Obamacare becomes more difficult as people grow dependent on its subsidies. (Though I still wouldn't rule out repealing Obamacare after 2016--once it has actually had time to wreak havoc on the economy, the health insurance market, and the quality of health care.)
And now the New York Daily News reports that the 2012 election could swing the Supreme Court decidedly into the liberal activist bloc or the originalist/textualist bloc of judges. Justice Anthony Kennedy, "has told relatives and friends he plans to stay on the high court for at least three more years - through the end of Obama's first term," sources tell the Daily News.
Kennedy has sided with the liberal activists on cases that held the Constitution grants habeas rights to enemy combatants, prohibits the death penalty for those under 18, and guarantees a right to abortion-on-demand. Kennedy has sided with the textualist/originalist bloc on 2nd Amendment and campaign finance/free speech cases. The 2012 election could determine whether these rulings and many others are upheld or overturned.