A conservative successor to Justice
Ginsburg’s death Friday gives the president and his Republican allies an opening to leave a transformational mark on a court already shaped by two Trump appointments. Senate Majority Leader
Ginsburg, 87, was one of the court’s most liberal members. Her departure could bring the biggest ideological shift for a Supreme Court seat since Justice
“It would monumentally change the direction of the court and turn back the advances in women’s rights and civil rights that Justice Ginsburg devoted her entire career to,” said Leah Litman, a constitutional law professor at the
Democrats say the seat should remain open through the Nov. 3 election -- and should be filled by the Joe Biden if he wins the presidency. Four years ago, McConnell blocked consideration of President
Abortion rights were already in doubt even before Ginsburg’s death. Although the court in June struck down a law that might have left Louisiana with only one clinic, the vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice
The future of abortion rights could now depend on Trump-appointed Justice
The court is scheduled to hear arguments on the Affordable Care Act a week after the election. The Trump administration is
Roberts joined the court’s liberals in a 5-4 decision to uphold the core of the law in 2012, but the law’s supporters now will have to secure a second conservative vote to win the case. A federal appeals court found part of the original 2010 law unconstitutional and left doubt about the rest of it.
The fight stems from a provision known as the individual mandate, which originally required people to acquire health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Roberts said in the 2012 case the provision was a legitimate use of Congress’s taxing power.
A Republican-controlled Congress later joined with Trump to eliminate the tax penalty, leaving the mandate without any practical consequences. Republican-controlled states then sued to challenge the law, saying the tax change required the entire measure to be invalidated.
Bush v. Gore
Ginsburg’s death could also deprive Democratic presidential nominee
Ginsburg dissented, saying the court should have let Florida continue with a recount that might have shifted the state -- and the presidency -- to Democrat Al Gore.
“The court’s conclusion that a constitutionally adequate recount is impractical is a prophecy the court’s own judgment will not allow to be tested,” she wrote. “Such an untested prophecy should not decide the presidency of the United States.”
Ginsburg, who once called Trump a “faker,” would have been an especially tough vote for the president to win in any election fight. The court has generally sided with Republicans in voting clashes in recent years, often with Roberts joining his conservative colleagues in 5-4 majorities.
Even if a successor isn’t confirmed in time, Ginsburg’s absence could matter in an election case. A 4-4 split in any case would leave intact the lower court ruling, potentially one that favors Trump.
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