Donald Trump said this morning that he’d announce a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsberg later this week (Kayleigh McEneny said by Wednesday, while Trump himself said he’d wait until Friday or Saturday, “out of respect” for RBG, which is not that respectful since she’d asked him to wait until after the election, but whatever).
There’s a certain political calculation to the timing of all of this, but Trump and his anxiousness have basically given away his entire strategy.
1) A more confident President would wait until he was reelected and select the next Supreme Court Justice.
2) A somewhat confident President would wait until after the election and use the choice of Supreme Court Justice as a reason to vote for him. He’d basically say, “Vote for me, and I’ll put so-and-so on the Court.” This would be the wisest move because it would solidify behind him those in his evangelical base who may have been wavering because of his handling of the pandemic, or because he grabs “p*ssies,” or because he uses the Bible as a prop for staged photo ops.
3) An insecure, blathering idiot who has no confidence in winning the Presidency whatsoever would nominate a Supreme Court justice as soon as possible and push her through — Senate willing — so he has the votes he believes he needs if there is a contested election, which he fully plans to orchestrate by undermining the mail-in voting process.
It’s very transparent. I mean, he said as much with two quotes to Fox and Friends this morning:
Trump: "I think the final vote should be taken, frankly, before the election…plenty of time for that." He adds, "I think it should go very quickly."— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 21, 2020
Trump says his SCOTUS appointment is important because of the "fake ballots" that will be sent out in the election. Again, total nonsense.— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 21, 2020
At this point, Murkowski and Collins are opposed to confirming a new Supreme Court justice before the election. I am doubtful that anyone will join them, but we need two more. If Trump plans to ram through a new Justice before the election, the Arizona special election (in which Mark Kelly could be sworn in by November 30th) is not likely to matter.
What all of this means, ultimately, is that conservatives are likely going to own the Supreme Court for the next generation. Trump hopes that owning the Supreme Court will allow him to remain in power, even if he loses the election. All of this makes it even more imperative that Democrats win in the Senate because we will need the full power of Congress if we hope to have even one check against a President who owns the Supreme Court (and if he manages to pull out a win, then he probably does own it).
I hope those millions of dollars that Democrats poured into Senate races on Friday night proves to be helpful and decisive.
Kate Beckinsale is used in lieu of Donald Trump as our header image because she is more aesthetically pleasing, and for superstitious reasons.