Trump has tweeted that he will fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat “without delay, ” stating that “We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us.” This is one of the biggest lies he has let loose in the past few days.
We all know that Mitch McConnell blocked Barack Obama from naming a successor to Justice Scalia, even though the President was acting some nine months before the election. And we all know that the tradition has been that Supreme Court justices are not normally nominated during the last year of a President’s term. In fact, a number of important Republicans have already said that naming a candidate 47 days before an election is not a good idea. Susan Collins has said it, and so ha Lisa Murkowski. And Lindsay Graham said so in 2016 when faced with Obama’s nomination, although he has flip-flopped in 2020 and will support Trump. Rumor has it that Mitt Romney and Cory Gardner would oppose Trump’s tweet, but at this point, who knows?
47 days. And most nominations take two months at a minimum.
Here we can plainly see how nefarious Trump can and will be. And we can see how broken our system has become. If he appoints another Brett Kavanaugh to the high bench, what response can the Democrats have if they take back the Senate and the Presidency? Pack the Court, which is legal but uninspiring. Or, as I have suggested, take from the Court its power over appellate decisions and transfer it to a new “lower” court, to be called the High Court of Appeals. And then pack the High Court. And make the remaining progressive members of the Supreme Court into members of the High Court.
All this makes you want to dream of days past, when the Warren Court (headed by a Republican appointee) was our searchlight for truth. Why was it great? “Important decisions during the Warren Court years included decisions holding segregation policies in public schools (Brown v. Board of Education) and anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional (Loving v. Virginia); ruling that the Constitution protects a general right to privacy (Griswold v. Connecticut); that states are bound by the decisions of the Supreme Court and cannot ignore them (Cooper v. Aaron); that public schools cannot have official prayer (Engel v. Vitale) or mandatory Bible readings (Abington School District v. Schempp); the scope of the doctrine of incorporation (Mapp v. Ohio, Miranda v. Arizona) was dramatically increased; reading an equal protection clause into the Fifth Amendment (Bolling v. Sharpe); holding that the states may not apportion a chamber of their legislatures in the manner in which the United States Senate is apportioned (Reynolds v. Sims); and holding that the Constitution requires active compliance (Gideon v. Wainwright).” Compare that to our present court and you will laugh (or be disgusted) at what happens now. Especially since now, with Justice Ginsburg gone, there will only be three progressives left on the Court (Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer). And what are the “conservatives” in the Roberts Court known for? Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (monetary restrictions in politics violates free speech); Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (First Amendment does not protect giving advice to terrorist organizations, even about legal activities or peaceful settlement of disputes); District of Columbia v. Heller (the court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment provides an individual right of gun ownership, unrelated to militia service); Morse v. Frederick (ruled against a high school student who unfurled a “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner at a school event, and said school officials may punish speech that appears to advocate illegal drug use); Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire (ruled that a female manager had waited too long to file her complaint that the company had paid her less than male co-workers); Gonzales v. Carhart (upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, approving for the first time a prohibition of a specific abortion procedure).
Can you see where we’re headed? Down a slippery slope to where true liberty dies.