The Future of the Scotus

by Ramya Sridhar, Editor-in-Chief

The+Future+of+the+Scotus

Ramya Sridhar, Editor-in-Chief

With RBG’s death, the nation lost a powerful symbol of liberty, democracy, and equality. However, Ginsburg’s death has had many more harmful ramifications beyond just the passing of a legend. Her passing means that there is an empty seat in the Supreme Court. Before her passing, however, Ginsburg made clear her dying wish. “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/21/technology/trump-jump-starts-misinformation-on-ginsburgs-dying-wish.html)

 Prior to RBG’s death, the Supreme Court was already tilted in favor of the Republican party, with a six-to-four conservative-liberal ratio. With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh in place of the retired Anthony

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court gather for a formal group portrait to include the new Associate Justice, top row, far right, at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. Seated from left: Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. Standing behind from left: Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Elena Kagan and Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. Some justices have a sort of verbal signature, phrases they employ to disagree _ more or less politely _ with a lawyer arguing in front of them. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP)

Kennedy, President Trump proved that he wanted to maintain that conservative ratio. Now, with RBG’s passing, Trump is anxious to fill the seat of this liberal icon with another one of his conservative allies, Amy Coney Barrett. 

Conventionally, when electing a Supreme Court judge, the president chooses a nominee, and the Senate votes on whether or not that person should be on the SCOTUS. The Supreme Court nominations are important because the candidates who are chosen remain in that position until retirement or death.  As of now, the Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, and the current president, Donald  J. Trump, is a Republican himself. Therefore, with both a red Senate and a red White House, Trump is anxious to put Barrett on the Supreme Court before the Democrats get a chance on Election Day to win back the White House. 

However, there has been quite a bit of protest regarding the hypocrisy of Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader. Before the 2016 election, during Obama’s presidency, Obama had wanted to fill the open seat of the Supreme Court after Antonin Scalia’s passing. However, McConnell refused to hold Senate holdings, on the pretense that it was far too close to the presidential election. Scalia’s passing was on February 13th, 2016, and the election was November 8th, 2016. There was a seven-month gap between the justice’s passing and the election–yet, McConnell insisted that it was far too close to the election for the president to nominate who the next Supreme Court judge should be. But now, with RBG’s passing being just 53 days from the election, McConnell insisted that President Trump nominate the next judge. There is a very clear hypocrisy here, and it is evident that McConnell simply wants the judges on the Supreme Court to be conservative and rightist–that’s why he refused to allow Obama to nominate a candidate, and encouraged Trump to nominate his, even though it goes against his previous claim. However, even the American people don’t seem to support this decision–according to a Reuters poll, 62% of adults believe that the court seat should be filled by whoever wins the presidential election in November. 

Supreme Court Nominee, Amy Coney Barrett.

Should Trump succeed and nominate Barrett into the Supreme Court, this would have a lasting impact on American democracy for the coming years. By nominating a conservative candidate and tipping the scales further in favor of the Republican party, Trump would enable future Republicans better access to pushing the conservative agenda on the legal system and the American people. Should Roe v. Wade, a landmark decision that declared abortion legal, be brought before the Supreme Court again, the conservatives would be able to change that precedent and take away a woman’s right to choose. There is also talk of the Republicans using a tilted court to ban gay marriage, which was declared legal in 2015. 

Our nation will always be a diverse compilation of political opinions. However, it is important that the political actions of our government are based upon ideas of morality, honor, and logic–all of which seem to be sorely lacking in the Trump administration. 

 

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-09-18/ginsburg-death-mcconnell-nominee-confirmation

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-ginsburg-poll/majority-of-americans-including-many-republicans-say-wait-for-election-to-replace-ginsburg-reuters-poll-idUSKCN26B0TN

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/21/technology/trump-jump-starts-misinformation-on-ginsburgs-dying-wish.html