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Ginsburg is gone. What now?

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Message Gulamhusein Abba
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The soft spoken fierce and fiery champion silenced by death

Will the Supreme Court remain the same?

By: G.A.Abba

The Supreme Court will never be the same without the irreplaceable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But, apart from her personal contribution, there is the question of "balance" in the court.

For quite some time the number of Judges in the US Supreme court that held liberal views (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonya Sotomoyar, Elena Kagan. Stephen Breyer) equaled those that held conservative views (John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia). The ninth Judge (Anthony Kennedy) was considered to be neutral.

After the death of Antonin Scalia his place was taken by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was a conservative and was nominated by President Donald Trump on January 31, 2017. The balance between the liberals and conservative Justices remained unaltered.

This balance was upset when Justice Anthony Kennedy retired. On July 9, 2018 President Donald Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh, a conservative, to succeed Kennedy.

There were contentious fights between Democrats and Republicans in 2017 and 2018 over the succeeding appointments. Justice Ginsburg's death has already set off another contentious fight. The Democrats, hoping that they will win the coming elections, are demanding that the successor to Ginsburg on the Supreme Court be appointed after the election. The Republicans insist that the nomination be made by President Trump.

Justice Scalia died on February 13, 2016 when Democrat Barack Obama was still president. The Republicans successfully prevented him from nominating a successor till after his term ended on January 20, 2017.The result was that Scalia's successor (Neil Gorsuch, a conservative)) was nominated by Republican Trump soon after taking office.

Justice Kennedy announced his imminent retirement at the end of June 2018 Trump, on July 9 nominated Brett Kavanaugh to succeed him. Both, the retirement and the nomination took place during Trump's term in office.

What is interesting to note is the difference between the arguments that the Republicans put forward:

In 2016, when Obama was President, to DELAY the nomination process TILL AFTER ELECTIONS and the argument being put forward by them now is to have the nomination process start BEFORE THE ELECTIONS.

In 2016, Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of President Barack Obama's pick Merrick Garland to replace the seat left vacant by Justice Antonin Scalia. The argument was we have pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president's second term".

In 2018, after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired, Mitch McConnell said that voters had expanded Republican' majority in the Senate "because we pledged to work with him and support his agenda".

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I am a journalsit, writer and a justice-and-peace activist. I am also involved in safeguarding and promoting the rights of undocumented immigrants in USA. Originally from Bombay (now Mumbai) I have been residing in USA from 1982. My articles and (more...)
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