Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Sept. 18, left a vacant seat in the Supreme Court that the Republican Party is wasting no time to fill. Shortly after her passing, President Donald Trump said plans were underway to appoint a new female judge. A formal nominee announcement is scheduled for Saturday and the path looks clear for a Senate vote to possibly happen by Oct. 29.
SHE WAS A LEGEND
Ginsburg was the second woman to be elected to the Supreme Court and is widely regarded as a champion for women’s rights. For many women, she is an example of barrier-breaking justice work. She suffered from many health issues over the years, including multiple bouts with cancer, which she fought while performing her duties to the court. The official cause of her death was “complications of metastatic pancreas cancer.”
According to Ginsburg’s granddaughter Clara Spera, the justice said just before she died: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
KEEP YOUR WORD
If only to honor the dying wish of a woman who has been an inspiration to generations, the GOP should not appoint a new judge before the upcoming election. However, the world of politics is not that considerate.
President Trump and the Republican Party hold every right and every power to appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court before Nov. 3. Since they hold the majority in the Senate, there is a greater chance that the process can be completed in the next two months. However, they should not wield their power in this way.
In 2016, top-tier Republicans took strong stances against then-President Barack Obama, who attempted to do what President Trump is doing now: fill a vacant seat in the Supreme Court during an election year.
According to NPR, when Joe Biden was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1992, a similar situation to this court vacancy took place, and Biden argued that President George H.W. Bush should wait until the end of the “political season” to appoint a new justice. This became known as the “Biden rule” and was used by Senate Republicans in 2016 to block President Obama from appointing a justice to the court. Senator Mitch McConnell spearheaded the movement by saying, “the American people should have a say in the court’s direction.”
McConnell was seemingly only referring to some, not all, American voices, because on Sept. 21 he said, “The Senate will vote on this nomination this year.” McConnell’s refusal to condemn President Trump makes his position clear. He has effectively decided whose voices matter: only those from his political party. However, all Americans should be given a voice in this decision.
FAIR AND BALANCED
In this completely polarized and divisive political climate, it can be argued that most of us do not have a voice. Our restrictive two-party system is deeply flawed, so we need to compensate for that lack of balance through equal representation. The coming election will give the American people a chance to declare if they want Biden or Trump to fill the vacant court seat. President Trump should wait to see if he gets re-elected before making this choice out of courtesy to millions of voters.
Court-packing, a tactic some democrats are suggesting in order to combat the GOP’s decision, is not the answer. Democrats will add justices who they think will advance their agendas, which will inevitably open the doors for retaliation from Republicans. Adjusting the total number of justices to the Supreme Court will only invalidate the power of the highest court in the country.
We only have 41 days until the election, and that is not enough time to properly vet a Supreme Court nominee. It is not in the people’s best interest for the decision of a “lifetime appointment” to be rushed.
Although we cannot vote directly for the new Supreme Court justice, we still have a voice. So, in all of this, it is paramount for followers of Jesus to keep a level head when we advocate for ourselves and use the platforms we do have. Thankfully, God is infinitely bigger than our American two-party system, and God will always be more powerful than any elected leader.