There is this saying that people often say during an election year: “the things that will determine the results of the election have not happened yet.” Well, we are close enough to the election for that to not really be the case anymore, to a certain extent.
With RBG’s death, filling her seat has become the Democrat’s biggest reason for voting for Biden.
The old man hiding in a basement has no draw to him whatsoever. While the polls show he is “ahead” of Trump, enthusiasm never goes his way. People aren’t excited to vote for Biden, and even if they think they kinda just have to in order to avoid four more years of Trump, that won’t be enough to get a sufficient amount of votes for Biden to defeat Trump.
NO ONE is enthused about voting for Biden. But for those who understand the significance of this vacancy in the Supreme Court, such people are definitely enthused to go out to vote for whichever one of the two are most likely to win.
No one cares about Biden enough to go out to win, but people, particularly on the Left, care enough about the Court being liberal and care enough about their supposed “right” to kill the unborn that they would go out to vote for whomever would ensure such a “right” remains in place.
Now, one can make the argument that such a situation of another SCOTUS vacancy should be expected in the next four years and as such, whomever was not going to vote for Biden anyway will not do so this time around. However, we cannot expect Democrat voters to be reasonable or think that far ahead. It’s one thing to worry about the next four years if RBG would be alive – it’s quite another to have her die 45 days before the election. The issue is now at the forefront of the Democrat voters’ minds.
This issue alone can drive Democrats to vote for Biden. That’s why it would make absolutely no sense for the Trump administration or the Senate GOP Majority to dilly-dally on this. Trump will announce RBG’s replacement later this week, but the GOP Senate should not delay much at all about holding a confirmation hearing and a vote.
Now, on average, since 1988, the Senate Judiciary Committee has held a confirmation hearing 45 days after a nomination and a confirmation vote occurred on average 26 days after that. However, there is obviously far less time to do these things now and there is nothing in the Constitution saying there needs to be a hearing, particularly as some Justices were confirmed the day they were nominated. The last time that happened was 1945, which, all things considered, wasn’t that long ago.
While these things usually take some time, time is a commodity Trump and Republicans do not really have. Thankfully, there is precedent even going back just 40 years, of relatively quick confirmations. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated by President Reagan on August 19th, 1981. Just 21 days later, on September 9th, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing which lasted for three days and was ultimately confirmed by the Senate on September 21st – just 33 days after her nomination.
Justice John Paul Stevens, the last Justice the Senate had voted to confirm prior to O’Connor, was nominated by President Ford on November 28th, 1975, and was confirmed on December 17th of the same year. Just 19 days.
And with the gift of the nuclear option given to us by Harry Reid and the Democrats, all that is necessary for a Supreme Court Justice confirmation is a simple majority. Usually, as there are 100 total Senators, that means 51 votes. But there are only 45 Democrats and 2 Independents (let’s assume they all vote the same way, since they usually do). Republicans have 53 votes. Even if Romney, Collins and Murkowski all do not vote to confirm whomever Trump picks, that still gives Republicans 50 votes and Democrats 47 – a simple majority. Assuming those three vote against Trump’s pick and the vote is split 50-50, the deciding vote goes to the President of the Senate: Vice President Mike Pence.
We can lose 6 Republicans and still get the nominee through via a Pence tie breaker. What we can’t have is 4 Republicans voting against the nominee, but I doubt that would happen. Murkowski and Collins said they wouldn’t vote, not that they would vote against the nominee.
So the votes, or even a lack thereof, are not a problem. The problem is the amount of time we have to fill the SCOTUS vacancy and take away the only thing that might actually get Democrats to go out to vote.
Again, no one is excited about voting for Biden. The only reason Democrats give to vote for him is that he’s “not Trump.” That kind of attitude is not a winning one, neither would it naturally lead to a Biden victory, especially as Trump’s own voting base has grown (I don’t believe for a second that there is anyone out there who voted for Trump, even if hesitantly, and changed their mind about him after the past four years. If anything, I KNOW there are more people out there who either did not vote for him who will this time or who voted hesitantly and have been convinced he deserves a second term).
One reason I write this article is because I have seen some conservatives (actual conservatives, mind you, not RINOs) who have argued that it would be a good thing to fill the vacancy after the election is over so that Trump supporters and Republicans are even more enthused to vote for Trump. That is a bad idea because those who are willing to vote for Trump are already enthused to do so or have made up their minds to do so. Leaving that vacancy open throughout the election gives Democrats a fire in the belly which they did not have previously.
Trump voters were already going to turn out in droves. No sense in giving the opposition a reason to come out for Biden.
So, while I do not know how fast the GOP-led Senate can hold a hearing for Trump’s pick and follow that up with a fairly quick vote, I know that there is precedent for a quick process even going back 40 to 50 years ago. And while that is a long time for rules to have changed, the Democrats gave us the gift of the nuclear option. It used to be that a supermajority of two-thirds, and at some points, three-fourths of the Senate were needed to confirm a nominee, but with the nuclear option, all that’s required is a simple majority. As far as the process goes, a nomination (obviously) and a confirmation vote (obviously) are necessary. But I cannot find anywhere that there is a minimum amount of time that needs to go by before a nominee can be confirmed, nor that a confirmation hearing must take place.
What’s more, even while the last relatively quick confirmation was 39 years ago, I do not think we were ever in the situation we are today: a Republican President getting to fill a SCOTUS vacancy roughly 40 days before an election, and the Senate is held by the party belonging to the President.
Call Republicans “hypocrites” all you want with wanting to go forth with this vote, but we all know that:
1) They are not hypocrites because Republicans held the Senate when a Democrat President wanted to fill Scalia’s seat and the Senate has to give advice and consent to doing so according to Article II Section 2: “… and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate…” and
2) Elections have consequences and the party in power should be free to exercise said power.
Voters put Trump, a Republican, in the White House in 2016. The President gets to nominate judges and Supreme Court Justices wherever there is a vacancy. Voters expanded the Republicans’ hold over the Senate, giving them a 53-47 majority. The Senate gets to vote to confirm or deny any such nominees. It’s not a constitutional crisis for the President and Senate to do their constitutionally appointed jobs.
There is no point in delaying any confirmation hearings or votes. I do not know all of the rules pertaining such a process but I know there is precedent for quick confirmation processes. Senate Republicans should follow such a precedent in this time, when it is necessary.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”
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