Incumbent President Barack Obama pulled off a tremendous victory over Governor Mitt Romney Tuesday night. Obama had wins in several key states, while Romney could not even take Wisconsin, the state in which his running mate Paul Ryan resides. Demographics and policy stance can be argued for the next four years, but the bottom line is that more voters turned out to support Obama in 2012.
Obama will face the challenge of a Republican controlled House of Representatives and a Democratic controlled Senate. It will be unlikely that any significant legislation will be passed. However, given demographics, the Republican Party will have to soften its stance on immigration if it intends to offer a viable candidate in 2016.
Obama will also likely make a 3rd and possibly 4th Supreme Court nomination. Nixon and Reagan were the last presidents to have 4 Supreme Court Justices confirmed. While I am not up to date on the Supreme Court docket, I believe the leanings and youth of the court will stabilize social issues rather than promote change. As a side not FDR had 9 justices confirmed, although 2 were replacements for earlier confirmations. The only justice to be impeached was Samuel Chase in 1804.
The prohibition era of America is turning as well. Alcohol was prohibited by Federal law in 1919 and the repeal was in 1933. Marijuana was prohibited in 1937 and has yet to be repealed on a Federal level. In fact the Supreme Court has upheld prohibition twice since 2001. However Colorado and Washington were the first two states to pass laws in direct opposition to the Federal laws. The interpretation and posture of the US and State Attorney Generals will be interesting to follow. As a side note, there is no Federal Law against gambling or prostitution. These matters are left to the states. The Federal Wire Act does limit gaming across state lines.
Very few individuals want to see an America with opium dens on every corner, however the tide is turning to say that prohibition rather than regulation of certain vices is not the best use of tax payer dollars to improve the lives of most Americans.
There has never been a Federal Law against abortion and the Supreme Court. Until Roe v Wade this decision was left to the states. Now abortion is legal in every state, but may be restricted to varying degrees.
There is a Federal Law not recognizing gay marriage. This was passed by Republican controlled Congress (85-15 Senate, 342-67 House) and signed by President Clinton in 1996. States may allow gay marriage but that union need not be recognized by other states or the Federal government. The constitutionality of the law has been challenged several times.