Republican Senate majority poised to replace RBG with Trump’s pick

People hold signs at a vigil for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, September 19, 2020. Photo by Thomas Hengge

The odds of delaying Trump’s Supreme Court confirmation is slim-to-none after Senator Mitt Romney made clear that he would not block it from moving it forward.

Now some Democratic voters fear what will come next. 

“The future of this country is at stake,” Mohammad Sikandar, a young voter and the Political Director of Progressive Democrats of New Jersey said. “This includes the potential dismantling of Roe v. Wade, reinforcement of Voter ID Laws and racist bannings, as seen with Mr. Trump’s Muslim ban. One Supreme Court Nominee could impact decades of work that our communities have put into various movements.” 

Democrats were hoping that the Republican majority would follow the precedent they set when they blocked President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick B. Garland, from receiving a hearing with eight months left in his term.  They said it was too close to Election Day. But now with a Republican president at the helm, the majority has changed its mind.

Daniel Brown, a New Jersey prosecutor said that the rushed nomination is being politicized and the outcome should be based on the law and concepts of justice. 

 “The Republican party ought to follow precedent and there are several reasons for this,” said Brown.“ This is at best a 25th hour appointment. When Mitt Romney said that the confirmation will move ahead because both the President and the Senate are from the same party, to me, that translated to: we are proceeding because we have the political power to do so.”

Dr. Elizabeth Hull, Chair of the Political Science Department at Rutgers Newark, said if the Supreme Court confirmation occurs, the decisions that will be made moving forward will not serve as a “neutral empire”  worthy of the public’s support.

“In the past, most of us have accepted the court’s decisions, however much we may have disagreed with them,” said Hull. “ I am no longer convinced that will be the case now.”

Two Republican senators who have broke ranks with President Trump on a Supreme Court confirmation are Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. Ruth Weinar Sherman Ross of West Orange, New Jersey,  said that they aren’t withholding their votes to go against their party, but because they are prioritizing different interests.

“Susan Collins is in a tough spot. She is running against a very strong young woman [Sara Gideon] who also happens to be a Democratic contender in Maine’s Senate Race,” said Ross. “Murkowski is a different story. She has shown herself willing to follow—if only sometimes—principle.”

Dylan Terpstra, the student body president at Rutgers University–Newark, said he does not see any hope of  delaying  a confirmation. 

“I think procedurally Democrats can’t really do anything about it,” Terpestra said. “The Republican party has the majority votes, which gives them the  power to set the agenda. They can decide what to delay. He can’t be stopped at this point. There is no doubt in my mind that America will have a conservative court. ” 

But there is still hope that Romney may change his mind.

On Wednesday, when Trump was asked whether he would commit to a peaceful transition, he said he needs to see what happens and believes he would win  the election without the expansion of mail-in voting during the pandemic. His comment prompted Romney to speak out, once again, against the president. 

 “Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable,” Romney said

Despite the potential outcome, Brown still has trust in the institution. 

“There are so many examples of people growing, evolving and surprising us with their positions,” Brown said. “One of my favorite Justices on the Supreme Court is Hugo Black.  He was prior to that a member of the Ku Klux Klan who then became a great protector of individual rights and individual liberties. I will continue to have faith in the Supreme Court. I will continue to have faith in the law as a whole.”