The mood under the looming US presidential election suddenly electrified over the weekend when a Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost the battle against cancer. Steel Ginsburg, 87, had taken numerous important victories in his career and risen to the highest possible position. In 1999, he was diagnosed with cancer for the first time, at the time it was bowel cancer.
Ginsburg, aka RBG, won that battle. In 2009, she had to be repeated on the operating table due to a new cancer. He also backs, at first, and also began to improve his condition
– When I started, I looked like I had survived Auschwitz, a Jewish woman who had just turned 80 said in an interview with the Washington Post in 2013.
– Now I can do 20 push-ups.
He could not have won this battle even if he had been less. The cancer diagnosed in 2009 was pancreatic cancer, which is often the death penalty. He eventually died of the complications it caused.
The last wish of the dying judge was that he would not be appointed a successor until the next presidential election has taken place.
The U.S. Supreme Court is served by nine judges appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
For three decades, the court has been divided on key issues according to 5-4 ideology. Even before RBG left, the Conservatives had an advantage. If the Liberal judge were to be replaced by another Conservative, the majority would be sealed at 6-3. The consequences would be far-reaching, as judge appointments are lifelong and the Supreme Court amends legislation significantly in American case law. Perhaps the most famous is the so-called Roe v. Wade decision of 1973, which made abortion legal throughout the federal state.
Indeed, Liberal Americans fear that decisions like this could be overturned if the balance of justice is upset.
Despite Ginsburg’s most earnest wish, the president Donald Trump has announced the urgent appointment of a successor candidate and a majority director of the Senate Mitch McConnell has promised to take the appointment to the Senate for confirmation.
This is infuriating Democrats. In February 2016, when Barack Obama served his last year, a Conservative who served as a Supreme Court judge for 30 years Antonin Scalia died. The election had nine months, far more than it does now, but Republicans had a majority in the Senate and McConnell refused to even put Obama’s candidate on the ballot. He appealed for the proximity of the election.
Pretty blatant hypocrisy.
With this still linked to the wish of the deceased, the efforts of McConnell and Republicans could hurt them – and possibly Trump as well – in the election. But one Supreme Court judge is a more important factor in the future of the U.S. than the president. Republicans have a unique opportunity, the use and non-use of which is a great gamble.
If they trusted Trump to be re-elected and retain Senate control, the process would be worth saving in the post-election period, but that may not be the case. Even if Trump wins, the election map is unfavorable to Republicans, meaning the Senate may well move to the Democrats, which in turn means the party won’t get the candidate it wants.
Democrats are doing everything they can, both legally and politically, to hold back the appointment of a new judge until next year.
The question, then, is whether Republicans have the opportunity to have a judge appointed when there are only forty days left in the election?
The simple answer is that it is. They are not prevented by any law and are not bound by the gentlemen’s agreement or McConnell’s previous speeches. The matter is quite simple: the president appoints and the senate confirms.
Everything else is sheer politics.
Politics was also at stake in 2016, when Obama appointed a fairly moderate middleway walker Merrick Garlandin candidate. It is utter utopia to imagine that Garland would have been Obama’s choice if the Senate had been under Democratic control. Obama relied on Republicans fearing the loss of the Senate and the presidency and approving a compromise appointment. Hillary Clinton would have guaranteed the most liberal person. McConnell was not afraid and Republicans won both the White House and both chambers of parliament.
The appointment of a judge, or rather the conclusion of a debate on the matter, now requires a simple majority instead of the previous 60 votes. Democrats can actually blame themselves for that. In 2013, the Democrat-led Senate decided to remove the old rule from appointments with the exception of Supreme Court appointments. They had difficulty getting judges through, among other things, the right to petition when the upper chamber seats were 55-45.
The Republicans took advantage of this in 2017, when they wanted to have a follower of Scalia appointed by Trump Neil Gorsuchin passed and abolished the 60-vote requirement also for Supreme Court appointments. Trump was also allowed to appoint another judge when Anthony Kennedy decided to retire in the summer of 2018.
Kennedy is an excellent example of how much power a single judge can have. He was appointed by the Conservative president, but his own positions varied. In 2015, for example, it was thanks to Kennedy that those of the same sex received the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples. Already his change Brett Kavanaugh’n rocked the right balance to the right.
If Republicans are really going to try, they need to act relatively quickly. In time, of course, the process will take time to complete. There are 104 days to start a new parliament and 43 days to vote. Judge appointments have lasted a minimum of 31 days and a maximum of 107 days from presidential appointment to Senate confirmation.
Democrats are guaranteed to use the full range of means to slow down the confirmation of the appointment, but their legal means are quite limited.
After Trump makes his election, it is taken to the Senate, where the appointment is first considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee is tasked with researching the candidate’s backgrounds, which can take up to 30-45 days, but the process may be completed more quickly.
Next comes the committee’s public hearing, in which senators ask the candidate what they want as TV cameras shoot. Herein lies an interesting pitfall: one of the members of the Committee on Legal Affairs is a Democratic presidential candidate. Joe Biden Vice Presidential Candidate, Prosecutor Kamala Harris. Democrats would even have a delicious opportunity to attack Harris as a judge just before the election.
Once the hearing has taken place, the Democrats in the committee can hold back the vote for up to a week. The committee then either nominates the candidate for a Senate vote or rejects him or her.
The Senate will then discuss the nomination before it is put to the actual vote. In the meantime, the braking rate is 30 hours, which is how much Democrats can demand further discussion on the subject.
So there is time, but is there enough political capital? So far, two Republican senators have already announced that they do not intend to support the appointment of a judge before the election. With the current Senate split into practice 53-47, only 1-2 lines of leaching senator are needed and Mitch McConnell’s hand is played.
Old speeches still cling to the ankles from every direction. The Judicial Committee is chaired by a Republican Lindsey Graham, Trump’s golf buddy, who has now said he supports the appointment of a new referee immediately. That was not the case four years ago.
– I want you to use my words against me. If we have a Republican president in 2016, and a seat opens in his final year, you can say that Lindsey Graham wants to let the next president, whoever it is, make an appointment, Graham said in the video.
Among other things, the majority leader in the House of Commons, a Democrat Nancy Pelosi hinted in an ABC interview that the House of Commons could even consider prosecuting the president or the justice minister to block the appointment.
– There are arrows in our wine that I do not want to talk about right now, but the fact is that we have great challenges in our country. In their comments, the president and his lawmakers have threatened that they will not even accept the election result, Pelosi formulated.
At this point, it’s completely impossible to predict what kind of chess will be played in Washington in the coming weeks and months, but that game has all the tools at its disposal.
If Republicans try to finish the appointment, it can cost them all levels of legislative power for at least the next four years. Some political career may end.
On the other side of the horizontal cup is the locking of the highest level of the judiciary into a Conservative majority for decades to come.
The question is, how many senators think risk-taking is worth it?