Justice Ginsburg is dead at 87, God rest her soul. Her life’s work is well documented in the litany of eulogies from this past weekend. This article will not attempt to add to them.
Whenever a seat opens on the Supreme Court, the nation enters the same debate with the same platitudes. Depending on who is and is not in control of the White House and the Senate, different people argue different platitudes. In 1992, then Senator Joe Biden argued what is today called the “Biden Rule”, that supreme justices should not be appointed during an election season. Republicans didn’t agree. Then President George HW Bush appointed a justice anyway, along with many other federal judges. The Democrat-controlled Senate, and the Judiciary Committee chaired by Biden, refused to even hold hearings on HW Bush appointees. But, their refusal was not limited to the 1992 election year; Biden applied his “Biden Rule” in 1991.
Then, in 2016, Biden opposed Republicans following the “Biden Rule”. He wanted Obama to appoint a justice for the Republican Senate to approve. Suddenly, Republicans agreed with the “Biden Rule” and Biden did not.
Now, a Republican president can appoint a justice for a Republican Senate to approve; but some Republican Senators think they should follow Biden’s rule. Democrats would never follow Biden’s rule if they had the White House and the Senate; we only expect this from Republicans.
Let’s cut with the platitudes and pretentious precedents already. Politicians choose judges because they can. Just how the court always rules in favor of the court—on every case, making whichever ruling reasserts the power of the court—the Senate always votes in favor of the Senate and the White House always acts in favor of the White House.
As with HW Bush and Obama, President Trump will appoint a new justice. The Senate will drag its feet, pretend to serve the will of the people, and play other games to remind Washington that the Senate has power to approve court nominees.
While branches of government put their power on exhibition, the Far Left is resorting to chaos and lawlessness as its display of power. That will only embolden the Right to vote in more Republicans, who will be all too glad to give Trump and his successors the very power he hasn’t used, which the Left nonetheless fears he will. Having been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as the first president in 39 years not to involve America in the very new wars the Left criticizes the Right for, their case against Trump no longer holds water.
If, by some miracle, Republicans lose the election, they will approve Trump’s nominee anyway. They’ll have to. Notwithstanding that nominee vetting often takes 70 days, the Senate will likely find an excuse to wait until after the election. It’s not so much about politics and election strategy as it is about asserting power by delaying power to expand power. Expect a Republican-appointed justice by December, no matter what political smoke blows in the meanwhile. God rest her soul, Ginsburg is dead; so is Roe v Wade.