This is why elections matter. If Al Gore had won in 2000 -- or Kerry in 2004 -- we wouldn't have had Alito and Roberts. We'd likely instead have two appointees of a Democratic president (or, at the worst, O'Connor still and a Democratic appointee). And the "Constitution" would be interpreted differently today, and democratically-passed legislation regulating weapons would still be constitutional.
In dissenting from the recent Supreme Court decision restoring habeas corpus rights to detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Justice Scalia warned ominously that "We can say with confident horror that more Americans are likely to die as a result" of the court's decision. Well, Justice Scalia, we can say with even more confident horror that more Americans are likely to die as a result of this terrible decision produced by you and your narrow -- purely political -- majority of conservative justices on the court.
At the Supreme Court, as has been abundantly clear for all to see since Bush v. Gore, law is simply politics by other means. The Supreme Court justices are simply politicians with robes on, who get life tenure, and who sometimes have to give written explanations for their decisions.
This is why elections matter. We cannot allow the Republicans to create a conservative supermajority on the court for the next thirty to forty years. Democrats must do whatever it takes to win this year.