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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week leaves a vacancy on the nation’s highest court less than two months from Election Day. Indeed, as some have pointed out, with early and mail-in voting underway in some states, the election is already afoot.
There’s a question of political hypocrisy attached to this particular vacancy, namely that in 2016, when President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the Republican-controlled Senate wouldn’t move ahead in a confirmation process.
Republicans argued, as the Times columnist Frank Bruni recalls, that “a court vacancy nearly nine months before the election should not be filled until afterward, so that the American people could have a fresh chance to weigh in.”
Mr. Bruni also notes that President Trump, who lost the popular vote in 2016, has already nominated two justices to the Supreme Court in his first term. “Seldom has a president’s impact been so inversely proportional to his warrant,” Mr. Bruni writes. “Trump, with his nonexistent mandate, reaches extra far and wreaks extra damage.”
He adds: “Americans’ faith in their institutions and feeling that their voices are heard might be strained even further by what seem to be lurches backward by a court forged in the hottest flares of partisan passion.”
One way of preventing similar political upheaval over Supreme Court vacancies in the future, argues Steven Calabresi, a co-founder of the Federalist Society, would be to limit terms to 18 years. In theory, with more predictable vacancies, the court’s makeup and partisan tilt — in either direction — would be less controversial.
— Adam Rubenstein
I was going to try to come up with some joke about Halloween being crushed. But really, I just can’t stop watching this strange video of crushed Skittles.
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