Justice Ginsburg passed way today. Talk about the ultimate October surprise. Suddenly the election will be highly impacted by this. Donald Trump believes that most people approve of his Supreme Court decisions. Democrats consider this the worst-case scenario. All of them are missing something important.
Ginsburg voted wrong on every issue. She has been the most extreme liberal on the Supreme Court. It will be hard to find someone more extreme than Ginsburg. Even a bad choice by someone like Joe Biden is unlikely to be worse that Ginsburg. The point being that regardless of what happens, this is a huge problem for liberals. If Trump replaces her with a conservative, it will take Democrats decades to recover.
There is another issue, that Democrats fail to understand. Many of the worst decisions by the Supreme Court and other Federal Courts has been where courts made decisions that could never be passed through legislation. That is one reason liberals want activist justices, they want people who will accomplish things they can never accomplish through legislation. But there is a reason they can’t achieve this through legislation. It is because this is not what voters want. So, if Democrats openly promote an activist justice, they will be playing straight into Donald Trump’s capable hands.
Ironically, it would probably help Democrats if Trump got someone approved before the election. That is because that choice would probably be more tolerable to Democrats than someone appointed AFTER Trump was re-elected. So, the only way Democrats avoid disaster, is if Biden is elected and Trump doesn’t get to approve anyone. But the certainty of a Supreme Court appointment increases the chance of Trump getting elected. Biden will have to produce his own list of potential appointees and the opposition research will be world class. Trump, on the other hand, already has his slate of candidates.
There is a reason Trump released his list of candidates. He knows this is a winning issue for him. One suspects that he knew this was coming because of the timing of this release. On the other hand, Biden must be extremely careful in producing his list, because if there is just one extreme radical on that list, Trump will seize the day. On the other hand, if Biden doesn’t include someone at least as radical as Ginsburg, he is going to have a real problem with his base. This is a lose-lose situation for Biden.
I believe Trump will try to pick a female candidate acceptable to Murkowski and Collins. That could help Collins win re-election. She needs Trump’s help. He doesn’t have to make this official until after the election. That would be perfect.
If Trump does nominate someone, there will be hearings in the Senate. Kamala Harris on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She would have to attend. That would make it nearly impossible for her to campaign. Yet, she can’t be a no show either. This is lose-lose for Kamala Harris.
Biden, on the other hand, is between a rock and a hard place. He can’t appoint anyone; he can just produce a list. Anyone on that list acceptable to someone like AOC will not play well in middle America. Anyone who appears to be slightly moderate will infuriate the liberal left. Biden will try to avoid preparing a list at all, which will satisfy no one.
Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi will demand Trump wait until after the election. They will do everything possible to obstruct the process. All of that helps Trump, particularly with his base. The more Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are tied to the Joe and Kamala fiasco, the better for Trump. Yet they must resist this because their base will demand that. It Trump appoints someone, and the Senate confirms. The liberal base will be furious. But they will be more furious as the leaders in their own party than at Donald Trump. They already hate him. That won’t change. The more they hate Trump, the more they underestimate him.
One thing is certain, the Supreme Court vacancy will be topic one between now and election day, and Trump must love that. No matter what happens, he wins. Right now, the Supreme Court has a 5-3 split. If Trump does nothing, conservatives already have the votes on any issue. The best liberals can hope for is a return to a 5-4 split. But if Trump appoints someone, the 5-3 split will turn into a 6-3 split. Democrats know that. Their base knows that. This is a huge loss for the liberal left, no matter what happens.
One serious problem for Democrats is that the extreme left will go off the rails if Trump nominates anyone. Unfortunately, that is likely to include loud protest and potentially riots. What these people fail to realize is that if they do this, it will benefit Donald Trump. The louder these people scream, the more they riot, the more they promote violence the more people realize they must never be given power. If we see widespread violence, demanding the appointment of a radical left-wing justice, that will benefit Trump and hurt Biden. Democrats are already in trouble for failing to deal with the riots following the George Floyd death and the Jacob Baker deaths. If there is a repeat of that, demanding a liberal supreme court justice, Democrats will be at great risk of experiencing a landslide loss of unprecedented dimensions. The Biden campaign is already in serious trouble. This has the potential to push it completely off the ledge.
This is impossible to predict, but I sure wouldn’t bet against Trump.