President Donald Trump is expected to ignore the dying wish of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and nominate her replacement in the coming days in a rush to hurry through a conservative judge before the election.
Ginsburg had hoped that Trump would not be the president to select the next Justice, concerned with the direction in which that would take the court.
Trump’s attempts to hurry through his own pick, the third Supreme Court Justice he would have nominated, has already been met with backlash from his rival, Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Biden demanded that Trump waits until after the election so the winner can put forward the nomination.
It comes as insiders suggest that some Republican Senators led by Utah’s Mitt Romney will lead a rebellion to scupper Trump’s chances of a rushed process.
It was the the dying wish of late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that Trump not nominate her replacement but he is set to it and nominate in the coming days
President Donald Trump speaks about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Friday. It is rumored he will nominate her replacement in the coming days
Trump’s attempts to hurry through his own pick has already been met with backlash from his rival, Democratic nominee Joe Biden who wishes to wait until after the election
Trump is expected to whittle down his nomination list from the 20 names he announced last week to one nominee that will then go through the Senate vetting process.
The decision in the nomination lies solely with the Senate although the Vice President breaks a tie in the event of a 50/50 split.
Among the current front runners to be announced by Trump in the coming days are U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, who holds a strong pro-life stance.
Lengthy confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee normally follow vetting, culminating with a recommendation on whether the nominee should be confirmed and placed onto the court.
Generally the process from nomination to appointment takes about 70 days although some, such as Brett Kavanaugh, take longer and Ginsburg’s appointment only took 50 days.
Even this, however, was longer than the 46 days currently remaining before the election meaning the vetting and review for a Trump nominee would have to take place at breakneck speed.
The long-term direction of the nation’s highest court is at stake as the closely divided court had five justices with conservative bents and four liberals, before Ginsburg’s death.
If Trump were to choose a conservative judge to replace the liberal Ginsburg, as expected, the court’s conservatives would have more heft with a 6-3 majority.
The president repeatedly touts his success in already nominating two conservative Supreme Court Justices as one of the biggest achievements of his term but wishes to extend his influence further.
If he loses in November without having secured a third Justice, Biden can appoint a liberal nominee, leaving the conservative-liberal balance at 5-4.
With other current Justices on the court in their 70s and 80s, without the Trump nominee, a Biden presidency could have further vacancies that could swing the balance of the court completely.
The Senate is currently controlled by 53 Republicans, while Democrats hold 45 seats. Two independents align with Democrats on most votes.
Among the 53 Republicans are some moderates, including Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, who may side with Democrats or oppose a vote before the election.
Senator Mitt Romney will allegedly lead a pack of GOP rebels
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has said she will not vote on a nominee before the election
Earlier on Friday shortly before Ginsburg’s death was announced, Senator Murkowski said that if she was presented with a vacancy on the court, she would not vote to confirm a nominee before the election.
‘I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election,’ she said, according to Alaska Public.
She said she made the decision based on the same reasoning that held up the confirmation of former President Barack Obama’s final nominee to the Supreme Court ahead of the 2016 election.
What happens with the Supreme Court vacancy?
CAN THE SENATE FILL THE SEAT BEFORE THE ELECTION?
Yes, but it would require a breakneck pace. Supreme Court nominations have taken around 70 days to move through the Senate, and the last, for Brett Kavanaugh, took longer.
The election is 46 days away.
Yet there are no set rules for how long the process should take once President Donald Trump announces his pick, and some nominations have moved more quickly.
It will come down to politics and votes.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO CONFIRM A NOMINEE?
Only a majority. Republicans control the Senate by a 53-47 margin, meaning they could lose up to three votes and still confirm a justice, if Vice President Mike Pence were to break a 50-50 tie.
Supreme Court nominations used to need 60 votes for confirmation if any senator objected, but McConnell changed Senate rules in 2017 to allow the confirmation of justices with 51 votes.
He did so as Democrats threatened to filibuster Trump´s first nominee, Justice Neil Gorsuch.
WHO ARE THE SENATORS TO WATCH?
With the slim 53-seat majority in the Senate, the Republicans have few votes to spare.
Republicans Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah and others will be among those senators to watch.
This comment could place Murkowski among a group of rebel GOP senators, potentially led by Mitt Romney, that will abstain from voting or vote with Democrats if a nominee is presented.
Romney has previously shown his ability to resist Trump and will likely be targeted by Democrats who will remind him of the 18-month delay caused by Republicans in 2016 when they refused to appoint Obama’s nomination ahead of that election
Another Utah senator could also play a prominent role over the next few days although for a different reason.
Sen. Mike Lee is among Trump’s shortlist for the Supreme Court role, as is his brother, Thomas Lee, who is on the Utah Supreme Court.
Maine’s Collins is another GOP senator who may oppose a Trump nominee due to pressure from voters in her own state.
She is in a tough race for re-election this year in her home state, which has been trending Democratic.
Ginsburg’s death could have an impact on Collins’ re-election effort and her posture on whether filling the high-court seat should await the outcome of the 2020 presidential race.
Late on Friday, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell issued a letter to GOP senators asking them not to reveal whether they will choose to vote before the election and on which candidate.
McConnell has said that he still hopes to complete the nomination process before November.
It can take several weeks to months between the president’s nomination of a Supreme Court justice and a Senate confirmation vote as the nominee must go through a thorough vetting by the Senate and often makes visits with individual senators to build support for the nomination.
Yet there are no set rules for how long the process should take once President Donald Trump announces his pick, and some nominations have moved more quickly. It will come down to politics and votes.
The last Supreme Court opening was filled in October 2018 by Justice Kavanaugh.
His confirmation faced strong opposition from Senate Democrats and included bitter hearings amid allegations, which he denied, of sexual misconduct decades earlier.
Having being nominated by Trump on July 6, the Senate voted in favor of Kavanaugh joining the court on October 6.
Trump has already remade the federal bench for a generation and the new vacancy in the highest court gives the president the ability to shape its future for decades to come if he is re-elected in November.
The likely bitter fight ahead was reflected in early statements by Republican and Democratic senators taking partisan sides on whether a Ginsburg replacement should await the election results.
Even though Republicans caused a 14-month Supreme Court vacancy by their refusal to consider an Obama replacement for Scalia in 2016, Republican Senator Rick Scott said on Friday: ‘It would be irresponsible to allow an extended vacancy on the Supreme Court’ this time, as he voiced support of Trump filling Ginsburg’s seat.
Democrats reminded Republicans of that 2016 delay. And Democratic Senator Chris Coons said, ‘Given all the challenges facing our country, this is a moment when we should come together rather than having a rushed confirmation process further divide us.
Since becoming Senate majority leader in 2015, McConnell has focused much of his attention and wielded his power to fill the federal courts with conservative judges nominated by Trump. More than 200 have been installed.
One senior Senate Republican aide said of McConnell, ‘No way he lets a (Supreme Court) seat slip away.’ The aide added that a major question will be whether McConnell, in tandem with Trump, attempts to fill the vacancy before the Nov. 3 election or sometime before Jan. 20, when the next president will be sworn-in.
Trump’s two nominees to the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch, 53, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, 55, are young appointments meaning that their potential tenure could last for decades.
Mitch McConnell has said he wants the nomination process to happen before the election
If possible, the president is expected to pick a third young nominee, increasing the length of his influence on the court.
The current front runner is U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, a devout Catholic and pro-lifer, who will cause major concerns for liberals that her anti-abortion stance will lead to the removal of the Roe v Wade ruling that legalized abortion across the nation.
Other members of the current court are also in their 70s and 80s, potentially meaning the next president could have the chance to fill yet another vacancy.
Through other members of the court are in their 70s and 80s.
Regardless of party, presidents tend to look for the same characteristics in potential Supreme Court picks.
Stellar legal credentials are a must. And they tend to be old enough to have a distinguished legal career but young enough to serve for decades. That generally means nominees are in their late 40s or 50s.
More recently, nominees have also previously clerked for a Supreme Court justice, an early mark of legal smarts. Five of the current justices previously clerked at the Supreme Court.
Who will Trump pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg? The 20 names on President’s Supreme Court shortlist including frontrunner Judge Amy Coney Barrett and senators Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton – who has promised to overturn Roe v Wade
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg aged 87 on Friday has potentially presented President Donald Trump with the opportunity to appoint a further conservative judge to the court, pushing it further to the right.
Earlier in September, after it was revealed that Bader Ginsburg was undergoing treatment for cancer, Trump added 20 names to a shortlist of candidates he pledged to choose from if he had future vacancies to fill.
The list includes a variety of conservative judges who have ruled in Trump’s favor, as well as three sitting GOP senators who have backed Trump’s agenda while defending him during impeachment.
According to ABC, the current frontrunner is U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, a devout Catholic and pro-lifer.
She was already a finalist for the nomination in 2018 which eventually went to Brett Kavanaugh.
Barrett has previously written that Supreme Court precedents are not sacrosanct.
Frontrunner U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 48, a devout Catholic and pro-lifer
Liberals have taken these comments as a threat to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
Barrett wrote that she agrees ‘with those who say that a justice’s duty is to the Constitution, and that it is thus more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it’.
She is a former member of the Notre Dame’s ‘Faculty for Life’ and in 2015 signed a letter to the Catholic Church affirming the ‘teachings of the Church as truth.’
Among those teachings were the ‘value of human life from conception to natural death’ and marriage-family values ‘founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman’
Her deep Catholic faith was cited by Democrats as a large disadvantage, however, during her 2017 confirmation hearing for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
‘If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously and I’m a faithful Catholic, I am,’ Barrett responded during that hearing, ‘although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge.’
Senator Ted Cruz is among those named by President Trump on his shortlist
Senator Tom Cotton suggested overturning Roe v Wade in appointed
Among the others on Trump’s list are Senator Ted Cruz, Trump’s closest competition for the Republican nomination in 2016; Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who immediately tweeted he would get rid of Roe v Wade if confirmed; and Department of Justice official Stephen Engel, who drafted memo justifying denying cooperation with House investigations.
And also in the running are Christopher Landau, the current ambassador to Mexico; Republican Senator and Trump loyalist Josh Hawley; and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, among others.
Trump’s list includes several controversial choices, compiled of six women and fourteen men.
During a campaign speech in Bemidji, Minnesota on Friday night, delivered while unaware of Bader Ginsburg’s death, Trump declared that Senator Cruz would be the appointment he would make if given the opportunity.
He stated that ‘one of the things we have done that is so good with the Supreme Court, we have two Supreme Court justices. We will have at the end of my term approximately 300 federal judges’.
He later called Bader Ginsburg an ‘amazing woman’ having learned of her death.
Steven A. Engel and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico – Christopher Landau
Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., asks a question during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing
Despite Cruz being named by Trump on Friday, he has spoken about he does not want to sit on the court.
During an interview with Fox News on Sunday he was asked whether he wanted the job, to which he replied: ‘I don’t. It is deeply honoring, it’s humbling to be included in the list … but it’s not the desire of my heart. I want to be in the political fight.’
He was repeating a statement from 2016 in which he also said that the high court is ‘not the desire of my heart’, despite him writing a book about it that is set to be published on October 6.
James Ho is another Texas choice on the list, currently a judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and former Texas solicitor general.
One controversial potential choice is Senator Cotton, who immediately tweeted about overturning Roe v Wade if confirmed.
‘The Supreme Court could use some more justices who understand the difference between applying the law and making the law, which the Court does when it invents a right to an abortion, infringes on religious freedom, and erodes the Second Amendment,’ he wrote.
He added in another tweet: ‘It’s time for Roe v. Wade to go,’ in reference to the landmark abortion rights ruling.’
On Friday night, however, he tweeted his condolences over Bader Ginsburg’s death.
‘I extend my condolences to the family of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for their loss. She dedicated her life to public service, and now she is at peace,’ he wrote.
WHO’S WHO ON TRUMP’S SUPREME COURT SHORTLIST
Ted Cruz, Texas. 49
Josh Hawley, Missouri. 40
Tom Cotton, Arkansas. 43
Bridget Bade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 54
Stuart Kyle Duncan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 48
James Ho, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 47
Gregory Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 56
Barbara Lagoa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 52
Carlos Muñiz, Supreme Court of Florida. 51
Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. 41
Peter Phipps, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 47
Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. 43
Allison Jones Rushing, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 38
Lawrence VanDyke, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 47
CURRENT AND FORMER REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS
Daniel Cameron, Kentucky Attorney General. 34
Paul Clement, partner with Kirkland & Ellis, former solicitor general. 54
Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. 46
Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general. 51
Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico. 56
Kate Todd, deputy White House counsel. 45