The New Yorker:
Following the announcement on Friday evening that the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, it took just hours for the White House and the Republican leadership in Congress to signal their intention to nominate and confirm a conservative replacement before the election, on November 3rd. “Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary,” the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said in a statement. “Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Even as McConnell was issuing this declaration of intent, allies of the President were going on Fox News and preparing the ground for what is to come. “I believe the President should move next week and nominate a successor to the Court,” Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, said to Sean Hannity. “This nomination is why Donald Trump was elected. This confirmation is why the voters voted for a Republican majority in the Senate.” Cruz went on to say that the vote in the Senate needed to be held before Election Day to insure a solid conservative majority on the Court and avoid the possibility of a tie in the event of a challenge to the election’s result. “We face a constitutional crisis if we don’t have a nine-Justice Supreme Court,” he said.
Nobody should be surprised at the shamelessness of this maneuvering. Trump doesn’t do shame, of course. Neither does McConnell. In 2016, he denied hearings or a vote to Merrick Garland, whom President Barack Obama nominated to the Court nearly nine months before Election Day, following the death of Antonin Scalia. But with Trump in the White House, McConnell has signalled all along that he would bring a Republican nominee to the Senate floor this year if a vacancy were to open shortly before the election. The fact that Ginsburg’s passing came just forty-five days before Election Day was immaterial to the conscience-free Kentucky partisan.
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