The nation has found itself once again in a political battle over the replacement of a Supreme Court Justice following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last Friday.
During her legal career, Justice Ginsburg paved the way for women’s rights and equality for all and was monumental in many Supreme Court decisions, including Olmstead v. LC, a case regarding discrimination against people with mental disabilites.
However, we now find ourselves in the familiar position President Barack Obama was in during his final year as president as he attempted to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia eight months before the election. His nomination was blocked by Senate Republicans who believed that the nomination process for a new SCOTUS justice should wait until after the presidential election to allow the people to weigh in on whom they trust to nominate a justice.
But, just hours after the death of Justice Ginsburg, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was the driving force against President Obama’s SCOTUS nomination, announced that the Senate would be moving forward with approving a new SCOTUS justice with just 46 days before the presidential election.
The hypocrisy being displayed by the Republican party concerning this issue is unacceptable and shows a lack of integrity.
While they blocked President Obama from putting forth a new nominee eight months prior to the election, they are now pushing for President Trump to nominate a new justice with fewer than 50 days until the election.
Sen. McConnell has used the defense that since the sitting president is a Republican, and the Senate is controlled by Republicans, that is justification to allow Trump to nominate a new justice so close to the election.
With the race between Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden being so close, for Trump to nominate a new SCOTUS justice is a move that could overturn nearly a century’s worth of monumental SCOTUS decisions.
Not only is there the possibility of President Trump losing in November, but there is also the possibility of the senate itself changing party hands. With the future of our government so up in the air and so dependent on this election, to bring a new SCOTUS justice in now would be an abuse of power by the Republican party.
If the SCOTUS has a 6-3 Republican-appointed majority, the decisions they would be able to make could result in catastrophic consequences. SCOTUS precedents concerning Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act, and DACA will all be in grave danger of being overturned.
In a perfect world, bipartisanship would play a big role in the SCOTUS. However, that is not the reality of the situation. The country has been divided even further year after year since the 2016 election and those we elected to lead our country are the driving forces behind that division.
In times as crucial as these, we need bipartisanship on the SCOTUS and we need historic decisions like Roe v. Wade to be protected. Several of the people on President Trump’s short list have vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade and other landmark decisions protecting civil rights.
The three branches of government are in place to protect the citizens of the United States and to balance one other. While there may be a great deal of division in Washington D.C., there is no room for partisanship in the SCOTUS when such important decisions are put in the hands of the justices as they are the last resort for justice in our country.
The SCOTUS is responsible for upholding the principles outlined in the Constitution. It should not be used as a political weapon between the two major political parties.
Senate Republicans set a precedent in 2016 when they blocked Garland’s nomination – they should have the integrity to stick to their rationale, even when it is inconvenient for them.
If the Senate can wait almost a year to replace Justice Scalia, it can wait until after the 2020 election to replace Justice Ginsburg.
Justice Ginsburg’s final request was for her replacement to be chosen by the next president. To not listen to this wish is to disregard the legacy of a woman who did so much for those who live in the United States by fighting for the protection of our rights.
We were supposed to be mourning the death of an American hero this week.
Instead, we began to mourn the possible loss of many of our rights as citizens as we fear what a conservative majority of SCOTUS justices might mean for the future of our country.