Welcome to your daily update leading up to the US presidential election on November 3rd. With eight days to go, we look at partying Republicans and blazing Democrats in the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
Barrett is inside
Amy Coney Barrett will be approved by the Senate next night and immediately afterwards sworn in as a judge in the Supreme Court. That appointment is for life, meaning that the now 48-year-old will likely leave a significant mark on American society for decades. With her arrival, the conservative majority in the court increases to six, against three progressive chief justices.
Although the Senate has yet to vote, there is little doubt that Barrett will get the job. The Republicans have gone to great lengths to secure her nomination before the November 3 elections. Just like during the impeachment lawsuit against President Donald Trump, their majority makes the outcome almost certain. It has been known for weeks that the necessary votes from our own camp have been received.
The Democrats are gritting their teeth, but little can do. They accuse Republicans of hypocrisy for blocking President Barack Obama’s nomination of a judge in 2016, arguing that it was not elect to do so with only six months to go to the election. They believe that the voter should decide which party can fill the vacant seat.
“We have made a significant contribution to the future of this country. Much of what we have done over the past four years will sooner or later be undone by the next election,” said Senate Republican majority leader Mitch McConnell. about the appointment. “But they won’t be able to do anything about this for a long time.”
“I want to tell the American people very clearly what is happening here,” said McConnell’s Democratic counterpart, Chuck Schumer. “The Republican senators and their majority are breaking a deal with you, doing the exact opposite of what they promised just four years ago, to secure a Supreme Court majority that threatens your fundamental rights. Don’t forget that, America.”
The political battle around the Supreme Court shows how deep the political divisions are. No Democrat is expected to support Barrett’s appointment, which is unprecedented in modern history.
In practice, it means that a party that provides the president, but does not have a majority in both chambers of Congress, does little in the area of legislation. The trenches are so deep that cooperation between the parties has become the exception rather than the rule. As a result, the judiciary has increasingly acquired a legislative role.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA, ‘Obamacare’) is a good example. The Republicans want to abolish it. In days gone by, they would likely have come up with an alternative bill and tried to convince enough Democratic colleagues of the merits of their plans. In view of the current political relations (see: the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives), that is not possible.
The Republicans are therefore trying it through court, arguing that the ACA is unconstitutional. They have not yet presented an alternative. A week after the election, the Supreme Court is considering the issue – one of the reasons for hastening the appointment of Barrett, who is known as an opponent of the health care bill.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine. (Photo: ANP)