If there was any doubt that the November presidential election was going to be the most pivotal in modern American history, that doubt died when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18 at the venerable age of 87. Fate has just raised the stakes. The campaigns for the White House and the Senate have immediately become even more frantic and, if it is possible, even more consequential. President Trump’s supporters – already fired up – will suddenly realize that November 3 is so much bigger than the man they are determined to see installed at the helm for a second term. Joe Biden’s apparently less than enthused supporters may discover a new-found jolt of urgency, knowing what is at stake.
All this, of course, will depend mainly upon how soon the president and Senate Republicans move to confirm a successor to Ginsburg – and whether Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) can command enough votes to close the deal.
For one moment, though, we should acknowledge the absence of a monumental figure in American government. Adored by the political left and somewhat reviled by the right, Ginsburg was no monster. She was a human being – one who maintained close friendships with colleagues who did not share her ideology. Her career was remarkable, and her family deserves our condolences, whether or not one liked her rulings from the bench.
Mourning the Tragic Loss of a Supreme Court Vote
It has been a bizarre and terrible year, 2020, in so many ways. For those on the left, it just got a lot worse – not so much because they will mourn Ginsburg’s death, but because the Supreme Court has another vacancy. Does it seem disgustingly cynical to suggest such a thing? No, it does not. The death of Antonin Scalia was celebrated in the most vicious and vile way by leftists – particularly on Twitter. These same leftists who displayed such callous glee at Scalia’s demise will not weep for Ruth Bader Ginsburg the woman – whose lifetime of public service took her to the very highest level of the Judicial Branch. Instead, they will cry for the loss of a Supreme Court vote on which they could almost always count.
There is no more appalling an example of how the left considers a human life of no importance when stacked against its ideological agenda than how NPR reported Ginsburg’s passing. According to NPR, Ginsburg dictated a statement, just days before her death, to her granddaughter. What did this statement allegedly say? “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
We do not know for certain. Perhaps this really was Ginsburg’s most fervent, dying wish. If this anecdote reported by NPR has been fabricated, though – either by Ginsburg’s granddaughter, Clara Spera, or by an NPR reporter or editor – then we have truly seen the depth of the fetid waste in which leftists will wallow to achieve their political ends. No greater example would there be of exploiting another human being’s demise in the pursuit of power. Even if Ginsburg did indeed make such a statement, NPR’s inclusion of it in the article smacks of politicizing her death.
Timing is Everything
All that aside, what does the sudden loss of “RBG” mean going forward? President Trump has suddenly been handed an opportunity of gargantuan proportions. Will he roll the dice and delay naming a replacement until after the election, knowing that there is at least a possibility that Democrats will win control of the Senate? Surely not, one would think.
Liberty Nation’s Washington Political Columnist, Tim Donner, shared his thoughts on the subject: “President Trump is not the kind of man to pass up this historic opportunity – employing a GOP majority in the Senate to nail down a conservative majority on the high court for a generation,” Donner says. “The smart money is on Trump and Mitch McConnell making a move quickly, most likely to Amy Coney Barrett, the darling of conservative judicial watchers, and who has likely already been heavily vetted.”
Barrett would, indeed, seem to be the obvious choice for many reasons – not least because the Democrats will be unable to Kavanaugh this nominee with unproven tales of sexual assault. Trump’s opponents will, after all, frantically try to stall any nomination until after the election and trust that they win control of the Senate.
Donner makes another crucial observation, though. While remarking that “the increasingly wobbly” Chief Justice John Roberts is unnerving conservatives, and that Ginsburg’s death will cause them to refocus their efforts to shore up a conservative majority on the court, he adds: “It’s important to point out that the true, current deadline for confirmation is not, as many are saying, November 3rd, but January 19th, the last day of this term of the Trump administration.”
Trump and McConnell have a full four months to install a new associate justice on the nation’s highest court. Sen. McConnell wasted no time. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” he said in a statement. The implication, of course, is that this vote will take place before the election – or certainly before the end of President Trump’s current term.
Given the scale of the legal fight that is almost certain to follow the election, a full Supreme Court bench is more important than ever. For that reason, as much as any other, the president and Senate Republicans should be laser-focused on confirming a nominee as quickly as possible.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be resting in peace, but she leaves behind a firestorm. Suddenly, the China virus, the discussions about racial justice and police brutality, and even the recriminations over the economy and how best to repair it may quickly fade into the background for the next few weeks.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.