On Monday, President Trump announced he would reveal his nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, on Friday or Saturday. It is said that the president spent much of the weekend soliciting advice and discussing potential nominees with a vast array of advisors. While the decision on who should replace the iconic Ginsburg on the bench may be one of the biggest decisions of his presidency, it appears that Trump is aware that time is of the essence. Aware that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has galvanized Democrats, it appears the White House is trying to show respect for her passing, while also making sure they are expedient with the process.
A Busy Weekend for the President
Further complicating the nomination is the fact that President Trump is in the middle of his reelection campaign. On Saturday, Trump campaigned in the state of North Carolina and took respite at his golf course on Sunday. In between the campaigning and the golfing, the president spent a great deal of time on the phone talking to advisors about potential nominees. Sources close to those phone calls have said that the president is eager to move quickly.
Some of the president’s closest advisors are urging him to go with his instincts. They are aware that the election is coming up and that naming a justice to the Supreme Court could reap political benefits for him in an election that could be tight.
Many of these same advisors are also telling the president that naming a replacement quickly would give Republicans who are on the fence about confirming a nominee so close to the election less time to state any misgivings. As of now, two Republican senators have already come out and stated that they believe whoever wins the November presidential election should be naming the nominee.
Proceeding with Caution
While it is certainly true that the death of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has given Trump the chance to name another nominee to the court, it does come fraught with some pitfalls. For one, Democrats have experienced a huge surge in fundraising after the death. It is said that the online Democratic fundraising platform, ActBlue, has raised over $100 million since Ginsburg passed away.
Presidential advisors don’t want to continue to fuel that fire by mishandling the nomination.
The president appears to be listening to the advisors telling him to proceed with caution. He has publicly stated that he will not reveal his selection until after the funeral services for the late Supreme Court Justice are complete. Trump told the program, “Fox News & Friends,” that he would be waiting, even though his press secretary gave contradictory information only an hour beforehand on the same news channel.
Preparing for Battle
The White House appears to know that they are in for a battle regarding the nomination. Despite comments in 2016 that no president should be able to name a replacement for the Supreme Court during an election year, several Republican senators are lining up to vote to confirm a new Supreme Court Justice. Among the people that Trump is counting on for support is Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. In conversations between the two, the president has made it clear that he wants a vote on his nominee before the November 3rd election.
Meanwhile, conservative group, the Judicial Crisis Network, is attempting to shore up support for the forthcoming nomination by donating $2.2 million to fund ads in states like Colorado, North Carolina, and Iowa. The idea is to build up grassroots support for President Trump’s cause, so voters will put pressure on their Senators to confirm the potential pick for the Supreme Court.
Who Will Replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
Behind all the political maneuvering is the question of who will replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. With the rush to get nominees vetted and confirmed, speculation has run rampant on who Trump may pick. The president has said publicly that no final decision has been made, but has mentioned two possibilities: Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa.
It appears that Barrett may have the blessing and backing of those who feel that she represents a safe option. Barrett certainly has a lot of experience. She was the president’s selection for the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals and was a clerk to former Justice Antonin Scalia. She has also held a position at Notre Dame as a professor of law.
Several establishment Republicans in the Senate and Congress, including Senator McConnell, have expressed their support of Barrett because she seems like the candidate who would present the best opportunity for a smooth confirmation process. The president is known to like Barrett, having considered her for the previous Supreme Court vacancy that was filled by Brett Kavanaugh.
Even though Barrett is seen as the path toward a smoother confirmation, it is not necessarily a sure thing. During her confirmation process to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, she was the subject of intense scrutiny by Democrats over her pro-life beliefs and ability to put her Catholic beliefs aside during rulings. That fight could be a sign of things to come.
Some favor an outsider and Lagoa could fit that bill. With her ties to Florida, some close to the president are thinking that her nomination could give him a boost in a critical swing state. The fact that she is not as well-known as Barrett makes some close to the process nervous.
A Lifeline or a Noose?
There is much anticipation over who the president will nominate. While other names are being floated around, like Alison Jones Rushing and Kate Todd, it is clear the White House wants to be as thorough as they can be to make sure they have a name that will not hinder them politically.
White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, and White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, are heading up the search together. Both men are attempting to help Trump find someone who will boost his campaign, which sees itself trailing Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. They hope to use the potential lifeline they have received with the nomination process to give the reelection bid a jumpstart and avoid hanging themselves with it
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