The passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday has left a vacancy on the bench that Trump is expected to fill.
On Saturday, Donald Trump said he would announce Ginsburg’s replacement this week, several days before his first presidential debate with Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden on September 29.
Trump has given insight into who will receive his nomination: “It will be a woman—a very talented, very brilliant woman.” Trump announced his support during his campaign rally in North Carolina. “We haven’t chosen yet, but we have numerous women on the list.”
Trump’s nomination announcement will come several weeks ahead of the November presidential election and is supported by a growing number of Republicans who will push Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to make a quick vote on Trump’s appointee. McConnell has vowed that Trump’s pick will receive a Senate vote.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is one Republican who does not support the move to fill Ginsburg’s seat prior to the November election and can play a crucial role in the voting process. On Saturday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) is another Republican who is in favor of filling the seat after the November election, saying that it should be the person elected that nominates Ginsburg’s replacement.
Biden has urged Senate Republicans not to vote on any court nominee put forward by Trump, appealing that they wait after the election during the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Sunday. Biden believes by moving forward, it could take the nation further down the “dangerous path” of anger and partisanship.
“We need to deescalate, no escalate. That’s why I appeal to those few Senate Republicans—the handful who really will decide what happens—please, follow your conscience,” he said. “Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created. Don’t go there. Uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience. Let the people speak. Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country.” Biden says even if Trump nominates a candidate, “the Senate should not act until after the American people select their next president.”
As for now, Biden will not reveal his list of contenders that he would possibly nominate to be the new Supreme Court Justice, mainly because he does not want the prospect to influence the decisions of any judges currently on the bench. Secondly, he predicts that anyone he names would endure a flood of partisan attacks prior to a nomination hearing that would take place in 2021 at the earliest. However, sticking to tradition, Trump announced his list earlier this month to protect the eventual nominee from protracted attacks.
“She would endure those attacks for months on end without being able to defend herself,” he added. Biden has once said that he would make sure to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.
Biden paid his respect to Ginsburg while speaking in Philadelphia, calling her a “righteous soul.” He also said if he wins the election, Trump should withdraw his nominee.
Biden also wants to follow the tradition of choosing someone after speaking to senators from both parties, he would like to seek their advice and consent. He argued that announcing a shortlist would only serve the purpose of further politicizing the Supreme, which is already deeply faulted under Trump’s presidency.
“It will be the product of a process that restores our finest traditions, not the extension of ones that have torn our country apart these past years,” Biden said. “The infection this president has unleased on this democracy can be fatal. Enough. Enough. Enough. We must come together as a nation.”
With Ginsburg’s recent passing, the future of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain, as the Supreme Court gets ready to consider anew the constitutionality of the law that has molded America’s health-care system over the past ten years.
Ginsburg’s senior status as the court’s liberal branch leader gave a reliable vote to maintain the act in the past and expected to continue into the court’s review of the law for the third time this coming term.
“Ginsburg’s death is the nightmare scenario for the Affordable Care Act,” said the University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley. “If the suit had a trivial chance of success yesterday, it has a new lease on life.” Bagley is referencing to the lawsuit that seeks to get rid of the health-care law. The nation’s highest court will start oral arguments a week after Election Day on the ACA lawsuit that was brought on by a coalition of Republican state attorneys and garnered support by Trump’s Justice Department.
As for now, the Republican National Committee emphasized on Sunday that Trump has an obligation to nominate and fill the vacancy on the bench, the Washington Post reports. They also provided an argument to support Trump’s decision to push forward.
“In both 2016 and 2018, the American people elected a President and Senate Republicans who are committed to selecting judicial nominees who believe in applying the Constitution as written. There have been 29 times a vacancy opened during an election year or prior to an inauguration. In each case, the sitting President has made an appointment.” Including that of President Barack Obama, who nominated Merrick Garland.
Only time will tell where we will end up from here.