• Tom Henry

Battle For The Court

What else did we need in 2020? A heated battle over a Supreme Court seat, of course.

Last Friday, America learned of the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She had served on the court for over twenty-seven years, being nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

The thoughts, prayers, and well-wishes for RBG and her family lasted for approximately 2.7 seconds before the political battle brought on by her death began. On the one side, the Republicans say it is their duty to bring President Trump’s nominee to the Senate floor for a vote. While, on the other side, the Democrats say that would be hypocritical since the GOP refused to vote on President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016.

So, who’s right?

In America’s history, a Supreme Court vacancy has opened up twenty-nine times in the last year of a president’s term. The president has nominated someone every single time. Of those twenty-nine times, nineteen have happened when the White House and the Senate are controlled by the same party. In those nineteen incidents, the nominee has been confirmed seventeen times. And in the remaining ten times when the White House and Senate are controlled by separate parties, the nominee has only been confirmed twice.

In 2014, the American people elected a Republican Senate to be a check and balance on President Obama’s final two years in office.

In 2018, the American people elected a Republican Senate to promote President Trump’s agenda in the final two years of his first term.

Sure, it’s pretty easy to use statements from 2016 by Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham against them in this current situation. They were pretty foolish for couching their moves in 2016 in statements like: “the American people need a voice in deciding the nominee.” The American people had already made their voices clear by electing a GOP Senate in 2014. Instead of trying to be cute with it, McConnell and Graham should have just clearly stated they were exercising their legal authority and political power to wait until after the election in the hope a Republican president would have the chance of nominating a justice. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s not hypocrisy, it’s just politics.

And as much as Democrats want to use Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “most fervent wish…that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed” as emotional ammunition, let’s not forget that RBG told the NYT in 2016, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year.” When she was pressed on whether or not the Senate should vote on Obama’s nominee, she said, “That’s their job.”

If the Democrats get the chance to nominate a justice to the Supreme Court, you can be sure it will be the most radical activist judge ever to sit on the bench. Isn’t it strange Joe Biden has refused to release his list of possible SCOTUS nominees? Perhaps, he’s afraid the American people will reject the idea of a leftist activist judge. Then again, he probably won’t know who his nominee is until the rest of us do.

It is shaping up to be a wild finish to the election. And since it’s 2020, there’s probably more down the road.

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