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Supreme Court on Verge of Historic Shift Is Stuck in Limbo for Now

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  • Nomination fight, election will determine whether court shifts
Guards stand in front of the Supreme Court on Sept. 7, 2016, in Washington.

The U.S. Supreme Court opens its new term next week in a holding pattern while waiting for a ninth justice. After the next president takes office in January, it may be on the cusp of a historic transformation.

A victory in November for Democrat Hillary Clinton would give the court a majority of Democratic appointees for the first time since 1969, at the end of the liberal era under Chief Justice Earl Warren. A 5-4 Democratic court would be more receptive to class-action lawsuits, campaign-finance rules, gun control and pollution regulations.