OPINION: Supreme Court vacancy should stay vacant until next elected administration take office

PHOTO: After the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Sept. 18, citizens have been mourning the Justice’s 27 years of service on the bench and prior work as a judge and lawyer (Courtesy: C. Schaser-Hughes).

By Emily Chapman,

BlueDevilHUB.com Editor-

With the death of gender equality icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Donald Trump’s quick nomination of a third Supreme Court Justice has sparked objection throughout the U.S.

Trump is within his legal rights to push pro-life Judge Amy Coney Barrett through Congress and gain a 6-3 conservative leaning on the bench. However, the Trump administration’s nomination cannot help but feel immoral; it disregards the country’s state of mourning for Ginsburg’s death, questions the authenticity of a lame-duck 116th Senate vote, and rejects the precedent set by Mitch McConnell with Justice Merrick Garland.

Davis High senior Natalie Ries immediately grieved the late Ginsburg and reflected on the influence Ginsburg had on herself and those around her.

“I literally cried for 15 minutes while doing my AP human geo homework,” Ries said. “I think people lost a role model and just knowing she was out there still kicking and fighting was a comfort.”

Many Republicans, such as DHS senior Emily Prussel, feel that although the death of Ginsburg was tragic, the vacancy should be filled immediately.

“President Trump should have the same opportunities as those before him. […] There’s no reason for him to wait,” Prussel said. “I hope [we seat a Justice before the election] because this is an opportunity neither party should pass up.”

As the appointment process has been accelerated by three times its average pace, according to UC Davis political science professor Bradford Jones, many senators in the 116th may lose their election and yet take part in the confirmation of Judge Barrett. Considered to be ineffectual after the election of a successor, or lame-duck, the senators taking vote at the time will not reflect the people’s current representation — bringing forth the question of the authenticity of votes from lame-duck senators.

Jones, foreseeing a lame-duck Senate vote to be viewed as illegitimate, questions why the Republican party would not wait and take the legitimacy of the nomination out of question.

“Why not just wait if they believe [Trump] and [the Republican party] will win?” Jones said.

Although hypocrisy in politics is commonplace, the bitter taste of this betrayal hurts nonetheless. In supporting Trump’s nominee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell contradicted a strong stance he took just a few years prior.

Near the end of former President Barack Obama’s second term with 237 days before the Nov. 8 election, there was an opportunity to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. After Scalia’s death, McConnell claimed that the “American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court Justice,” according to the New York Times. McConnell and other Republican senators refused to grant Judge Garland a hearing, adding on to the precedent for successors not to inaugurate Supreme Court Justices on an election year. 

Now however, McConnell, alongside Trump and other senators in the majority party, seeks to expedite the vetting process in order to add another conservative voice to the bench.

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