With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Sept. 18, partisan battle lines have been drawn over the high court vacancy.
Ginsburg served 27 years on the nation’s highest court—nominated by former President Bill Clinton in 1993—and was known as a champion for women’s equality, having forged a legal career in an era when women were scarce in the highest echelons of the law profession. Although she was a leading liberal on the court, she and Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon and fellow justice who died in 2016, were the closest of friends, according to NPR.
But with Ginsburg’s death just 45 days before Election Day, liberals and conservatives alike are scrambling to gain control of the Supreme Court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Friday evening that he will move forward with confirming President Trump’s nominee without delay on the grounds that Republicans have unified control of the White House and the Senate, unlike in 2016, when he blocked President Obama’s nominee nine months ahead of the presidential election.
“Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary,” McConnell said in a statement. “Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Many religious conservatives have come out in support of swiftly moving forward with a Trump pick.
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a pioneer who shaped decades of jurisprudence in America,” said Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO and chief counsel of First Liberty Institute. “While we mourn her passing, it is paramount that the Supreme Court not be left with a vacancy in the middle of a pandemic that continues to restrain the religious liberty of millions of Americans. President Trump must nominate, and the Senate confirm, a new justice immediately. The American people deserve nothing less.”
The pro-life organization March for Life posted on Twitter: “In 2016, voters elected President Trump because he promised to fill any Supreme Court vacancy with a judge from a vetted list of potential nominees who have demonstrated that they are fair, independent and follow the Constitution as written. Today he has a responsibility to deliver on that promise yet again—and we look forward to closely reviewing that nominee’s record.”
As expected, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden urged Senate Republicans to wait until after the election.
“If Donald Trump wins the election,” he said, “then the Senate should move on his selection and weigh the nominee he chooses fairly,” Biden said. “But if I win this election, President Trump’s nominee should be withdrawn and I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has threatened to impeach President Trump—again—if the Senate seeks to push through his Supreme Court nomination.
“We have our options,” she told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We have arrows in our quiver …”
If a Trump nominee gets Senate confirmation to fill Ginsburg’s seat, conservatives would purportedly have a reliable majority (6-3) on the court for the first time in decades. The president told reporters he seeks to nominate a woman to fill the vacancy.
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