Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes her mark even after death
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Friday has increased the ferocity of the political divide facing the citizenry. For many generations, the progressive left has used the courts to make changes to American society that it could not enact through the legislative process. Presidents on the left have used executive orders to move political situations toward their preferred political outcomes regarding health care, immigration policy, and economic regulations. No amount of compromise or success satisfies the national Democrats and their media supporters. Their goal is to exercise complete control over the political apparatus.
The president announced on Monday that he would nominate a woman either Friday or Saturday, after the funeral service for RBG, out of respect for her and her family. Ginsburg has become the most important issue among Democrats for the 2020 election, eclipsing the coronavirus. Fundraising for the Biden campaign has accelerated with over $50 million raised in three days. In the three days since the death of RBG, scarcely any mention of the pandemic has been noticed. The focus is upon the Senate in an effort to stop the "advice and consent" process that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated will proceed once a nomination is delivered.
Generally, it has taken about 60 days from nomination to final vote for a Supreme Court nominee. But, back in 1789, the same day that George Washington signed the Judiciary Act that allowed for six justices, Washington submitted all his nominees, who were confirmed two days later. The size of the Court has varied from a low of five to a high of ten. The latest threat by Democrats to use all the resources after they secure the majority in the Senate is telling. They will use them regardless of the outcome of any Court nomination. They have threatened to make D.C. and Puerto Rico each a state to ensure a permanent Democratic majority in the Senate. They have also threatened to pack the Court, as had Franklin Roosevelt, which was rejected by his own party.
There are now three options for the Senate. The first possibility: They can find insufficient votes to get a nominee passed, stopping the process. Already Senators Collins and Murkowski have indicated reluctance to bring forth a nominee this close to the election. Susan Collins of Maine is in a difficult contest. She wants to avoid any divisive decisions this late in the game. Lisa Murkowski has two years before another election, so her hesitancy may be more personal, as she voted present for the Justice Kavanaugh confirmation. With 53 Republicans, McConnell can lose only three votes (with Vice President Pence cast the deciding vote in that case). But if Mitt Romney, Cory Gardner, or Chuck Grassley gets squishy, this situation becomes critical for the election. It will embolden the Democrats. Already, they are pressuring Republicans.
In 2016, RBG advocated that the Senate take the vote for Obama's nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, who was billed as a moderate liberal on the D.C. appellate court. According to accounts from RBG's granddaughter, on her deathbed, RBG expressed the hope that the nomination to replace her should wait until after the election is concluded and a new president selected. This is to be expected from a politically motivated judge. Joe Biden has flip-flopped several times regarding judiciary nomination votes when it favored the Democrats. McConnell had argued in 2016 that the vote be delayed when the other party controlled the Senate. This is not the case now.
The second option is for the president's nominee to be put before the Senate and the vote to come after the election. In this situation, both bases will mobilize all resources to ensure success. Leftists fear a loss of abortion support on the federal level, as Roe v. Wade might be in play. The ruling on Obamacare, in which Chief Justice Roberts reversed his original position and found the Affordable Care Act to be a tax, might be altered. They will work hard to win. But it now makes an issue the focus of the election other than Donald Trump, whose personality has been a negative. This frees up Collins and Gardner to run without this difficult vote, but that might anger their Republican base. This will energize some NeverTrump Republicans to reconsider and support Trump for this appointment. Further, it is likely that the Democratic election lawyers will contest many votes. If this happens and threatens the result as in 2000, then an eight-member Court could end in a tie, which cannot happen with nine members. Party unity might "trump" any ethics.
In the third situation, the vote happens before the election. This can happen only if the nominee is already vetted by the FBI (and needs supplemental updating). It requires that McConnell have the votes in hand. It helps Trump for re-election since he delivered another promise. It will demonstrate to unhappy Republicans that the politicians have found their voice. This will allow the Republicans to focus their campaigns on the Democratic threats, which are extreme. Most profoundly, it hands a defeat to the Democrats that would let some steam out of their engine. It also shows that the Republicans know how to wield power when they are in control.
There can be no doubt that the Democrats will exercise any efforts to stop this nomination. Nancy Pelosi threatens to start up impeachment again — irony, since the effort would be against the constitutional powers the speaker claims to protect. But that has never been important. The exercise of power is always paramount, just as she stops further COVID legislative help that does not meet her requirements. In the past, the filibuster has been altered for filling the Judiciary. Progressives threaten to alter it further for legislation.
No one knows who will win the Senate, the House, or the White House, but Justice Ginsburg (who will lie in state) will have a profound effect upon the coming election. Her legacy is enormous and continues after her death. Hypocrisy in Washington is normal, but the media narrative is more concerning. Their treatment of Donald Trump for four years is so lopsided that they cannot be objective now. The screaming indicates that they are very worried.