Will the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday upend the 2020 election, or is the fight over the future of SCOTUS already enough of a key election issue for voters that it won’t have much of an impact on the battle between Donald Trump and Joe Biden? That depends on who you ask.
Over at Hot Air, Jazz Shaw notes that Republican and Democratic strategists are already weighing in, with Republican strategist Alex Conant asserting that a confirmation fight before the election will only help the Trump campaign. Democrats, as you might imagine, are taking a decidedly different stance.
Meanwhile, the liberals and never-Trumpers at the Bulwark were busy prognosticating in the opposite direction, as you would expect. They start by saying that if Trump and the Senate GOP move forward and replace Ginsburg it will “destroy the remaining public legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Full stop.” (I’m glad they’re not getting overly dramatic.) They go on to say that if Ginsburg is replaced before the election on November 3rd and the Democrats take power next year, they will almost certainly attempt to pack the court by adding more seats. And if she is replaced after November 3rd (in a scenario where Biden wins the election), then “the powder keg would explode.” The only “safe” course of action they posit is to go for the “Garland solution,” where they simply wait and let the next President and Senate Majority Leader (be that Trump and McConnell or Biden and Schumer) seat Ginsburg’s replacement. Or Trump could just nominate Garland himself as some sort of fantasyland tribute to his political foes.
The chances of Merrick Garland being nominated by Donald Trump is slightly less than the possibility of Joe Biden joining the NRA and touting his recent purchase of an AR-15. It’s simply not going to happen, though it looks like Trump will be nominating someone to fill the seat in the coming days. Trump has already released his short list of SCOTUS nominees for a second term, and it’s likely that Trump’s choice will come from that short list of candidates, which is chock full of judges who’ve backed the Second Amendment, both on the bench and in their previous in public service and the private sector.
Paul Clement, the former Soliciter General who’s represented gun owners in multiple Second Amendment challenges in recent years, is on the list, as is former Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who called for the Supreme Court to declare a New York City gun law unconstitutional back in 2019.“New York City’s transport ban infringes the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the 2nd and 14th Amendments,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in a friend of the court brief Wednesday.
Francisco asked the court to “confirm” that the Second Amendment also protects the right of a “law-abiding, responsible citizen to take his firearms outside his home, and to transport it to other places — such as a second home or a firing range — where he may lawfully possess that firearm.”