Trump’s Possible Outlooks on the Supreme Court Opening
While Mitch McConnell had already made it clear that he would fill a Supreme Court opening, even in an election year, he reiterated it again today, when the Ruth Bader Ginsburg position opened up. But Mitch is not Donald Trump. Let’s look at this from Trump’s point of view.
Trump is already running on his selling his great accomplishment of appointing two Supreme Court positions, even though one was an accused sexual harasser, who also blew his top at the job interview before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Furthermore, Trump tied his reputation to the Kavanaugh appointment by running a very fast and very limited investigation.
Trump’s other appointment is looked on by many as a stolen appointment since it occurred in February of an election year, and Senate consideration of Obama’s nominee was completely blocked by McConnell. The Justice Department follows a rule of not interfering into an election within two months, but this opening was eight and a half months before an election. Today’s opening is 46 days, or only a month and a half before an election. So, Trump would appear as much of a hypocrite as McConnell and all Republican Senators by not leaving it until the next Presidential term. If Trump is as confident of winning as he claims he is, then why not leave it until his next term.
The Supreme Court is already at 5 Conservatives and 3 Liberals. No matter who makes the next appointment, it will remain a Conservative court, so there is no urgency.
But Trump’s reasoning goes much deeper, as he was not counting on this opening. One of his main campaign themes was to fill the RGB position next Presidential term, when she would retire. If he fills the position now, some religious Republicans who support him solely on ending abortion rights, but detest his sinful behavior, have no further reason to vote for him.
Trump’s two lists of potential Supreme Court nominees are carefully chosen from swing states, and special demographic groups. Once he chooses his nominee, all of that extra support is lost.
Trump needs the Senate to remain Republican to back his future judicial appointments, to make more tax cuts, to approve his cuts to agencies, and to cut out more regulations. Yet making swing state Senators vote for his nominee puts them and his Republican Senate in jeopardy.
Justice Ginsburg was a champion for women’s rights and minority rights. Any Conservative that Trump appoints, will be contrasted against RGB, and found solely wanting. This will seriously affect Trump’s efforts to garner votes from the vast number of Independent and minority voters.
So Trump has at least six considerations to withhold filling the position until his next term. He is working really hard to win re-election, which he has been campaigning for since the day he was first elected. Why risk blowing his chances for an extra position on an already Conservative court? What’s in it for Trump? We know from his past, that he really doesn’t care about removing abortion rights anyway.
We haven’t even considered that Trump has a abominable record in vetting candidates. Another failure and whitewash would bring up his previous controversial Supreme Court appointment, and all of his failed cabinet and White House staff appointments.
Of course, playing it safe and sane is not a choice that Trump makes. So all of this may prove to be irrelevant tomorrow.