The Rush To Replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg

It is unquestionably the duty of the U.S. Senate to undertake the “advise and consent” process set forth in the Constitution to confirm or deny the appointment of a president’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court. Although not specified in the U.S. Constitution, it can be assumed that that there is an implied obligation for the Senate to do so in a timely manner. The federal court system, including the Supreme Court, was intended by the framers of the Constitution to be the most independent and insulated from outside influence and interference, the last step check and balance upon the administrative and legislative branches. With devastating effects upon our representative democracy, however, the confirmation process has, almost from the very beginning, been politicized. So, rather than justices chosen based upon their demonstrated qualities of fairness, impartiality, legal knowledge and accuracy of application of legal principles in their decisions, the process favors the appointment of extreme ideologues bent on pushing through the agenda of the party in power at the time of the appointment.

To make matters worse, the party in power in the Senate has used senate procedure and rules to dramatically slow down the appointment of justices when the President is from the opposing party and accelerate it when he is from the same party. There has been no more cynical and hypocritical example of this than the current effort to rush through the appointment of President Trump’s nominee, 2nd Circuit Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett,  to replace Justice Ginsburg, who died on September 18, 2020.

Remember, within hours of the news of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on February 13, 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to consider a nominee for his replacement by President Barack Obama, on the stated grounds that an appointment should never be made in an election year, but should be postponed until after the election in order to allow the People to have their voices heard. With jaw dropping, boldfaced hypocrisy, however, again before the deceased justice’s corpse was cold, and before any announcement of a proposed replacement from the White House, the same Senate Majority Leader announced publicly that such a nomination would be heard, though Justice’s Ginsburg’s death occurred more than 7 months later in the election year than that of Justice Scalia.

There are many good reasons to oppose this proposed Supreme Court appointment besides the principle of fairness and good faith. A majority of persons in the United State favor postponing the appointment until after those elected to the presidency and the senate take office in January. According to a poll taken by Hart Research Associates from September 26 to 29,  2020, only 42% of the persons polled favored conducting the confirmation before the election. Similarly, the report concludes, “Voters reject confirmation by a 12-point margin when they hear a case against confirmation that blends substantive concerns about Amy Coney Barrett with objections to Republicans’ process of rushing the confirmation through before election day.”

Despite everything, the party in power is hell bent to push through this appointment. The Senate Majority Leader (and the President between tweets)  has avowed to drop all else to make this happen, even continuing the Senate’s four-month long refusal to pass much needed Covid-19 relief for millions of Americans out of work, many under threat of eviction from their homes. Is it done deal? Will the President and the Senate Majority Leader succeed in this unconscionable act contrary to the wishes of Justice Ginsburg and the majority of American People? Sadly, the answer is: most probably. But we at RepresentUs New Mexico are doing much to oppose this appointment and are asking you to help us in that fight. At the very least, when the facts about this nomination and the serious constitutional factors that would be impacted are emphasized to voters, hopefully those who oppose confirmation would voice that opposition through their votes in the 2020 election.

See below to learn what we are doing and how you can join in the fight.

John House
President, RepresentUs New Mexico