RBG And The Fiercest Political Battle The Country Will Ever See
2020 continues its horrid reign as Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the giants in our democracy, passed away at the age of 87 from cancer.
There are very few people in our democracy that have done as much as Ruth Bader Ginsburg. An absolute rockstar who pioneered women rights, RGB was the first Jewish woman (and second woman overall) on the Supreme Court. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton in June of 1993.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, RBG went to Cornell University and eventually enrolled at Harvard and Columbia Law School. After graduating, she found difficulty finding a job because at the time women working in law was uncommon. In fact, she tried to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter but was rejected for the clerkship because she was a woman.
Eventually, she began her career in law and in 1980, President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the United States Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She was a judge there until President Clinton appointed her to the Supreme Court in 1993.
Some of her most important decisions were United States vs Virginia which championed women's rights. RBG wrote the majority decision which struck down the Virginia Military Institute's policy of male only admission. Another important decision was Olmstead vs L.C. which championed the rights of the disabled.
Rest in peace to the Notorious RBG.
Before she died, she wanted the world to know the following: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." She said this because she knew the United States is on the brink of the fiercest political battle this country has ever seen.
A Fight Like Never Before
With Ginsburg passing away, it has left an opening on the Supreme Court at the WORST possible time.
With the election just 46 days away, the President of the United States has the constitutional authority to nominate someone to the Supreme Court. The person who is nominated is then voted on by the Senate and with a simple majority is nominated to the Supreme Court for life.
Why is it the worst possible time?
I am not speaking in hyperbole or exaggeration when I say this has the potential to be the fiercest political battle in the history of the United States.
Back in 2016, an election year, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. Scalia was a fierce conservative on the court, With his passing, President Obama tried to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. As President, Obama had the constitutional right to nominate someone. However, the senate at the time was majority Republican.
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, the senator from Kentucky, refused to consider Garland's nomination. There were no hearings or votes or any action by McConnell. According to him, "they would not consider any nominee put forth by Obama, and that a Supreme Court nomination should be left to the next President of the United States".
His rationale was in an election year, the President should not be allowed to nominate someone until after the election, until after the American public made their decision heard. So if the incumbent President won, he or she should choose, if the opponent won, they would pick once they're in office.
This was UNPRECEDENTED especially since Obama still had 11 months left in his term. But because the senate was majority Republicans, there was nothing President Obama could do. Later that year, President Trump won the election and in the years after, filled the vacancy with Neil Gorsuch and when Supreme Court Justice Kennedy retired, Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh.
So with election just 46 days away, is McConnell going to push through a Supreme Court Justice nomination?
"Yeah, we would fill it."
Those were Mitch McConnell's words from earlier this year if a Supreme Court Justice position opened up.
In fact, his exact words were "If you're asking me a hypothetical about whether this Republican Senate would confirm a member of the Supreme Court due to a vacancy created this year — yeah, we would fill it."
Because the senate is compromised of 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats, the Republicans can push through the nomination of the Supreme Court Justice that President Trump chooses.
This would be one of the most hypocritical actions done by any politician in American history. If the Republican led senate goes through with the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice so close to the election, Democrats and those on the left would wage a blockade of that nomination like never seen before. They would plaster Mitch McConnell's own words from four years ago all over the airwaves.
Is finding RBG's replacement more consequential than other Supreme Court nominations?
Absolutely. That's because if President Trump gets his nomination onto the court, the court will lean conservative for decades. Right now, the court is split 4-4 in terms of justices who have conservative and liberal views (Chief Justice Kennedy was supposed to be a conservative but has leaned more towards the left in recent years).
With the court leaning right, it throws into question some of the most consequential rulings the Supreme Court has decided on in the past, such as Roe vs Wade. Just last week, President Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees, one of whom was the Senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, whose first tweet after that was announced was "It's time for Roe v. Wade to go."
This is Insane
This election did not need any more fuel. But with Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, this is literally pouring kerosene over a four alarm fire. I cannot imagine a more polarizing, poisonous and divisive issue for the election this year.
If the Republicans hold a vote on the nomination prior to the election on November 3rd, it could backfire spectacularly at the polls on election day for how hypocritical it would be considering what happened in 2016.
If the Republicans hypothetically lose their majority on election night, they could technically vote for the nomination between November 3rd and January 3rd which is when the new senate would come into power. That means a lame duck senate would nominate a Supreme Court Justice into the Supreme Court for life despite the American public voting for a Democratic majority senate.
There will never be an election like this ever again.