Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sadly died on the 18th of September. However, the world of politics stops for no-one, with Donald Trump eagerly trying to appoint her replacement before the US General Election on November 3rd. Read more to find out who he plans to add to the court, when and how it is going to happen.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a liberal justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and will be remembered forever as a pioneer by both Democrats and Republicans. Appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, she was an activist for Gender Equality as well as being the heart and soul of the Supreme court's liberal wing. However, her long fight with Pancreatic Cancer ended devastatingly, with her passing on the 18th of September.
While one would hope that the world would be able to take a break to recover from this upsetting event, the world of politics stops for no-one. Donald Trump, who has been awaiting this death as an opportunity to appoint a replacement justice to the court, thus fortifying the supreme court's conservative majority, instantly declared that he would have a new nominee before Election day. Just this past Saturday, Trump officially announced that his nominee would be Amy Coney Barrett. Barrett is a 48-year-old judge from New Orleans, Louisiana. She has extensive experience in the field of law, most notably as a judge on the Seventh Circuits Court of Appeals (the Seventh Circuit includes Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin). A mother of 7, wife to Jesse Barret and devout Catholic- she is viewed by Trumps aides as a suitable replacement, despite her conservative views on issues such as abortion.
Any President requires senate approval to appoint a new justice on the court, as does Trump now. Trump requires 51 out of 100 senators to vote in favour of Barrett's appointment. As of right now, Trump's Republicans hold a majority over the Democrats in the senate of 53-47, making Barrett's approval likely. Yet as with most things these days, it may not be that simple. In 2016, 9 months before that year's election occurred, Obama also had the opportunity to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice. He attempted to appoint Judge Merrick Garland, but the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee refused to even conduct the necessary hearings, as they said that it was too close to the election and the nomination should come from the president elected in November (whomever that proved to be), not the President sitting prior to the election. As such, Republicans were able to push back the appointment of a new justice until after Donald Trump's victory. Despite this clear precedent, Senate Republicans are now hypocritically supporting Donald Trump in his nomination of Barrett, even though this nomination attempt sits significantly closer to the election date than Obama's attempt in 2016. This is proving to be controversial amongst many Americans who feel that, as in 2016, the winner of this year's presidential election should select the nominee. The most notable example of this hypocrisy from Republicans is Sen. Lindsay Graham, who said "Hold my words against me..." in 2016 when he lobbied to prevent Senate hearings on Garland's nomination. He went so far as to state that a new justice shouldn't be appointed by a President last year. Despite this claim, we stand here today with Sen. Lindsay Graham supporting Trump in his nomination, just over a month out from this year's hotly contested election. This has led to anger amongst many Americans.
I stand with the Americans against this nomination for two reasons. Firstly, on a personal level, I feel the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett is a negative step in terms of building the liberal America of which I want to be a part. She is ultra-conservative and her policies on issues such as abortion rights contradict my personal views. The appointment of Barrett would give the conservatives an insurmountable 6-3 majority on the supreme court, meaning that America may take major steps back socially and philosophically. Secondly, the nomination of Barrett this close to the election feels incorrect, especially when you remember that Obama was denied his nominee a much further nine months out. It appears Senate Republicans are willing to re-interpret good practice and ethical procedure every four years as long as it plays to their benefit. On the Senate floor, I would hope to see democracy at play but all the republicans are showing is hypocrisy in action.