By: Sam Jones, Columnist
I am not the first person to tell you how influential Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was. She was a titan of the law and a champion for women’s equality in America. However, even as we mourn the loss of a national treasure, this is a political column. And the clear political question is whether or not a Trump-appointed justice can be confirmed before the upcoming inauguration in January. The President has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett, and the Senate will have the final say in the confirmation process.
The people pick a president, and the President picks Supreme Court justices. Since the filibuster has previously been eliminated for Supreme Court nominees, the Senate may then confirm the president’s pick with a simple majority vote, with Vice President Mike Pence a tie-breaker if needed. There are no requirements about the time frame in which a nominee can be confirmed, however, in recent history, it has taken around 70 days. This gives Senate Republicans plenty of time for the confirmation process, and with a strong Senate majority gives Republicans hope for a third justice appointed by Trump. It is clear to me that President Trump is well within his rights when filling this seat, and has a good chance to do so.
Additionally, I don’t care that Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish was for her successor to not be nominated by President Trump. Ginsburg was known to make political statements from time to time, even though Supreme Court justices historically take a non-partisan approach when publicly speaking. It does not surprise me that she opposed Trump until the end, but the constitution doesn’t say anything about honoring dying wishes.
Not to mention, both parties have really flipped their mentality on this topic. In 2016, Barack Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court did not receive a vote in Mitch McConnell’s Republican Senate. Republicans at the time said that a Justice should not be confirmed during an election year, but recently corrected the record stating that was because of a Democratic White House and a Republican Senate. Now in 2020, the Democrats are now taking the same position that Republicans took in 2016 and vise versa.
So the way I look at it is, the Supreme Court is now a political establishment. It was not always supposed to be that way, but that is where we are at. Of course, all of Trump’s nominations have been heavily politicized, including Justice Brett Kavanaugh who was accused of drug dealing and gang rape during one of the most unethical shams to ever take place in Washington, D.C. This nomination will be no different. Judge Barrett, who President Trump says can make overturning Roe v. Wade possible, has the left screeching. This confirmation process will surely be a political sham, but the Republicans will win.
Yes, even with Republican Senators Susan Collins announcing that she would vote no on a 2020 Trump nominee and Lisa Murkowski still considering her vote, the Republicans still have the majority needed to confirm the next justice of the Supreme Court. Even Senator Mitt Romney, a never-Trump Republican, stated that he would prefer to see a center-right Supreme Court for years to come.
It is looking more and more like President Trump will get a third Supreme Court nominee. While I am sad to see Justice Ginsburg go, I am excited to see this president nominate another constitutionalist judge who will uphold what the constitution says and not attempt to legislate from the bench. I believe this will be a good thing for our country for generations to come.