Donald Trump and Senate Republicans are attempting to ram through the fastest Supreme Court nomination in history. In doing so, Trump is energizing Democrats who want to see an end to this wanton misuse of power. While Trump relishes yet another conservative on the bench, it could end up costing him the election.
A Supreme Decision
The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has created a unique opportunity; one that Trump has been salivating to occur. Republicans are attempting to schedule a vote to potentially confirm Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, prior to the November election.
The presumption is that she will vote to repeal Obamacare, which has long been an unfulfilled Trump promise. This past week, he signed an Executive Order claiming to protect those with pre-existing conditions from losing their health insurance. This is a far cry from his oft promised healthcare plan he says will replace Obamacare, which already assures such protection.
Judge Barrett also is an advocate of repealing Roe v. Wade and effectively making legal abortions a thing of the past. This will certainly please Trump’s Evangelical followers. Due to the Republican majority in the Senate, her appointment appears to be a foregone conclusion.
But, could the push for fast approval be a mistake?
True, conservatives would add to their majority on the court. Given that Barrett is just 48, she could be on the bench for years. However, by appointing someone so soon, Republicans are missing a golden opportunity. Instead of having a conservative Justice right away, Trump could use this as a campaign issue that could potentially rally his flagging base of supporters.
So, why the rush? Using the Supreme Court as a campaign issue worked in 2016, so what makes the appointment so vital now?
Aren’t elections decided by the voters and not the courts?
Loyalty: From Comey to Coney Barrett
Showtime is airing a two-part movie called “The Comey Rule”. One of the highlights will surely be the dinner where Trump asks then FBI Director James Comey for his loyalty. Above all else, Trump values loyalty and he expects those around him to be loyal to him, even above their loyalty to the government they pledged to serve. Many former staffers have either left or been fired from the administration for failing to live up to this ‘duty’.
Given this history, there is little doubt he won’t ask the same of his Supreme Court nominee, and that he has asked the same of the other justices he put on the bench. With Trump pushing voter fraud and the prospect of a contested election, he is depending on this loyalty to get him a second term. He is relying on his selections to the Supreme Court to ignore the rule of law and demonstrate their loyalty by ruling in his favor .
The Polls and Pandemic Politics
In these final days before the election Trump is returning to the same strategies that won him his first term. He is questioning his opponent, Joe Biden's, mental capacity and suggesting he is incapable of handling the rigors of the presidency. And, he is claiming that, if he loses, that Democrats somehow rigged the election. He has even gone as far as stating he would not accept the results and will not guarantee a peaceful transition of power. Instead, he will rely on his Supreme Court appointees to support him.
Trump is claiming that Democrats are using the pandemic to promote mail-in balloting, which he asserts will lead to widespread voter fraud, despite having zero evidence to support this. He has used the Justice Department, whose role it is to uphold the Constitution, not to defend the president, to investigate discarded absentee ballots as evidence of this.
And he is ignoring the deaths of over 200,000 Americans because it is not to his political advantage.
An Alternative Strategy
The whole Supreme Court process could be smoke-and-mirrors. Republicans could say they are pulling back on their hearings to placate Democrats. This could energize his base to support Trump even more by casting Democrats in the role of villain in this political melodrama.
This is a highly unlikely scenario, given that Trump is expecting to once again lose the popular vote. Instead, he will most likely rely on the courts to decide, completely ignoring his losing record in recent court cases.
We cannot allow this election to be stolen.