The death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will open up another war front between President Donald Trump and his Democrat opponents in the dying hours of the presidential campaign. There's no doubt that the President will try to fill the Supreme Court vacancy by appointing a Conservative judge, a move that will be fiercely opposed by the Democrats.
The death of Ginsburg, popularly known as RBG, has given Trump the chance to move the Conservative majority in the top court decidedly to the right. Until the death of RBG, the Conservative-Liberal balance on the court was 5-4. Trump now has a unique opportunity to tilt that further towards the right with another Conservative appointment.
Historic Opportunity for Trump
In doing so, he will be blistering his own various right-leaning campaigns. Not until President Ronald Raegan in the 80s has a president got the opportunity to appoint three life-time justices to the Supreme Court. Trump appointed Conservative justices Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. With another Conservative justice on the court, the liberal voice in the US supreme Court will be muffled for long.
Now that there's no doubt Trump will bolster the right by another quick appointment. It's clear that this move would lead to both political and legal fracas. The Democrats will oppose a supreme court appointment by a lame-duck president. But technically, Trump will have his way. A Supreme Court appointment will need the Senate ratification, and the majority counts here. Right now Trump's Republicans control the upper house and it's clear that they will rally together and ratify a social-conseevatve nominee.
Impact on Election Outcome
In more ways than one, a fresh Supreme Court appointment will bolster Trump. It can even have an impact on the election outcome. The 2000 presidential election was finally decided in the Supreme court after the votes in Florida were too close to call. The news networks called the election for Al Gore first, then for George W. Bush. At one point Gore conceded, then retracted it, launching a protracted legal battle.
The agonising court battle over the election outcome came to an end nearly a month and half after the election day, when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the crucial matter of Florida vote recounts. The Conservative five-justice majority in the Supreme Court clearly helped Bush get the presidency.
Mail-in Voting and Disputes
The Trump campaign has already invoked the 2000 Gore Vs Bush in discussions over the upcoming election and the legal wrangles it maybe wracked with. Mail-in voting on a vast scale can potentially lead to disputes in a close election. In 2000, Florida held the key to the final election result, with both sides needing its 25 electoral college votes to clinch the presidency.
In 2016, Trump scraped through to victory over Hillary Clinton by virtue of his majority in the electoral college, despite losing the popular vote. Swing states like Wisconsin and Michigan were too thinly balanced and Trump had only a slim majority.
If things pan out in a similar fashion and either side claims a crucial swing state on a slim margin, a protracted legal battle could ensue. As it happened in 2000, the legal fracas can, then, go all the way to the Supreme Court.
In such a scenario, a clear Conservstive majority on the bench would give Trump a better chance than Biden. The US Supreme Court currently has a Cnservative majority but its recent verdicts in key cases showed it may not merely rally on the Republican side. Particularly, recent verdicts on Trump immnuity and the extension of LGBTQ rights were examples.
That's why Trump would see it all the more important to name another Conservative justice to the court. But to do so before the election would be a hard task, with the Democrats expected to oppose any such move before the election.
The Democrats are certain to invoke what RBG reportedly said before her death. NPR reported that the dying justice, a champion of liberal causes in the US Supreme Court, said her replacement should not be nominated before the election.
"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," she told her granddaughter Clara Spera before her death.