Passing of Justice Ginsburg Creates Political Uncertainty

Ginsburg’s death not as dire for Democrats as public believes

Keaton Rannow, Contributing Writer

    To the American Left, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg was perceived as a catastrophe of massive proportions. The appointment of a new conservative justice under the Trump administration could skew the court to the right for decades to come.

     But before we proclaim “the death of American democracy” or the imminent overturn of Roe vs. Wade, there are some important considerations that need to be made, and if November goes the way it’s projected, the passing of Ginsburg could prove a blessing in disguise for Democrats and a serious pain in the Republican Party’s already aching side.

     First, the successful appointment of a new justice is not a forgone conclusion. Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, may have said he’ll fill the position, but that doesn’t guarantee he’ll get the votes. Republicans hold a narrow 53-47 majority in the Senate and it’s not inconceivable that Democrats could get 4 Republican senators to flip.

     Both Lisa Murkowski (AL) and Susan Collins (ME) support abortion rights in a bid to win their tightly contested battles and a slew of other senators could join them. Cory Gardner (CO) is facing a difficult re-election in a blue state and Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN) and Pat Roberts (KN) are both retiring and might prefer to protect the Senate as an institution as opposed to voting along partisan lines. Is it likely? No, but there’s a chance.

     Second, and perhaps more consequentially, if McConnell forces the hand of Republicans in the Senate and pushes a nomination through, the voter backlash could be immense. In an election year that already doesn’t look promising for Republicans, the appointment of a new justice could swing the Senate farther into the Democrats’ favor.

     If Biden wins the presidency and Democrats win the Senate like is predicted by most polls, including the Economist, the outcome could be worse for Republicans by way of court-packing.   Put simply, court-packing would enable Democrats to increase the size of the Supreme Court to 11, 13, even 15 justices, all of which would be liberal.

     If Biden loses, nothing will matter. There will be no court-packing if the justice is already appointed and if not, Trump will do so. Provided the polls are correct, Republicans would’ve missed a huge opportunity by waiting or have their work negated in a few weeks.

     Ultimately, if a replacement for Ginsburg is made before the election, it will be symbolic of Republicans cutting their losses, not gaining the upper hand in American politics.