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This is rather subjective, but a US Supreme Court Justice could be regarded as the most significant long term force in American politics, especially the Chief Justice.

The Justices are responsible for interpreting the law, but the interpretation of that law can lean liberal or conservative. Additionally they are appointed for life, giving them a long hold over US policies.

Especially influential justices include John Marshall (1801-1835), Roger Taney (1836-1864), and Earl Warren (1953-1969)

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Q: What is the most significant long term force in American politics?
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