The Political Impact of Filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Seat
The country spent the weekend celebrating the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg but now, the attention is on her spot on the bench and who should get to pick the replacement.
“Putting aside whether or not it’s politically expedient to even do so right now it’s almost physically impossible,” says Michael McDaniel, associate dean of Cooley Law School in Lansing.
It looks like President Donald Trump will try to replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court before Election Day.
“On average it takes 67 days for a Senate confirmation of a Supreme Court justice,” says McDaniel.
There are 43 days until then and only 13 Senate session days. President Trump has already appointed two justices in his term and a third would take swift, unprecedented action.
“I would think it’s better to wait,” says McDaniel, “But there are tradeoffs both ways.”
For the GOP, it gets another conservative voice on the bench. For Democrats, it rushes a pick on the eve of an election they may win.
The Senate ultimately confirms the choice and both Michigan senators want the president to wait. Governor Gretchen Whitmer agrees.
“I believe it should be the appointee of the whoever wins that election,“ says Whitmer.
Just four years ago, in President Obama’s final year, Senate Republicans said it is unjust to push a justice pick during an election year but the tables have turned.
“Some people say it’s hypocritical,” says McDaniel, “But I just think that if you establish a norm you have to follow your own norms. There has to be some sort of consistency and stability in the process.”
The risk for the GOP rushing the pick would be what happens next. Especially if they lose the Oval Office and Senate in November.
“This is sort of giving the Democrats, not only a reason but, an open door to retaliate,” says McDaniel.
An expanded Supreme Court would allow several Biden appointees and power on major decisions. Which just further politicizes a court that should be unbiased.
“The Supreme Court is not as partisan as everyone expects it to be,” says McDaniel.