On Friday September 18, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died creating a vacancy on the Supreme Court. Her last wish was reportedly that her seat not be filled until after a new President is sworn in. This aligns with the actions of the Republican Senate in 2016 which refused to consider Obama’s nominee, Marrick Garland, because of its proximity to the election after Justice Scalia’s death in March 2016.
Despite this, Mitch McConnell said that the senate would move on a nominee before the end of Trump’s term. Trump himself announced at a rally that Ginsburg’s replacement would be a woman, and there have been 2 names which have been mentioned as potential nomineés. This has attracted a lot of backlash from Democrats who believe this to be hypocritical especially in light of the actions of the Republican-conrolled senate in 2016. There have been reports about Trump naming his successor as early as Saturday.
The two women considered top contenders for the job are Circuit Judges Amy Barret and Barabara Lagoa. Barret was considered a top contender for Justice Kennedy’s vacancy. According to Reuters, “Ginsburg’s death gives Trump and his party an opportunity to establish a 6-3 conservative majority on a court whose decisions influence many spheres of American life including abortion, healthcare, gun rights, voting access, presidential powers and the death penalty.“
Furthermore, with a 53-47 majority, 4 republican senators would have to oppose the nomination for it to fail and deny Trump a third supreme court justice. So far, only Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski amongst the Republicans said they would not vote for a nomination until after the election.
According to The Hill, “Barrett, 48, was immediately viewed as a front-runner to replace Ginsburg as Republicans signaled they would quickly move to fill the seat.” Another name was Barbara Lagoa who has an “extensive legal background and has been a judge in state and federal courts. Her potential nomination could also have a political upside for Trump given that she is a Cuban American from the key battleground state of Florida”
There are several other names including Allison Rushing, Amul Thapar, and Bridged Bade.