What a difference a Justice makes. And those of us, citizens and senators alike who opposed the nominations of both Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, are not savoring a moment of vindication. We are, however, grateful that our voices were heard in an earlier confirmation fight which saw the confirmation of Justice Kennedy, rather than the first nominee for that vacancy, Judge Robert Bork.

The message is clear: our next choice as President will have a decisive impact on the future of the Supreme Court, and accordingly on the increasingly besieged rights that we all cherish. Because of the timing and setting of Thursday’s debate, we know how the Democratic candidates stand on the Seattle/Louisville decisions. From the Republican candidates: silence thus far. Too much is at stake for silence to be acceptable. Ask all the candidates hard questions, make your vote count and make sure that every vote is counted!