In Politico, Eliana Johnson and Gabby Orr report that the Trump White House is reaching out to allies to ask them to prepare for a tough confirmation fight if Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court should open up.
If Ginsburg were to step away from the court, President Trump must absolutely nominate and demand the confirmation of a serious conservative jurist. Amy Coney Barrett is such a jurist, and there are others on Trump’s list who would be great as well.
In what appears to be a “post-McCain” conservative rejuvenation for Sen. Lindsey Graham, he told Chris Wallace he’s “hell-bent to put a conservative to replace whoever steps down for whatever reason.”
The White House “is taking the temperature on possible short-list candidates, reaching out to key stakeholders, and just making sure that people are informed on the process,” said a source familiar with those conversations, who spoke on background given the delicate nature of the subject. “They’re doing it very quietly, of course, because the idea is not to be opportunistic, but just to be prepared so we aren’t caught flat-footed.”
Ginsburg had a pulmonary lobectomy, the Supreme Court said in a statement, and her doctors said that post-surgery there was “no evidence of any remaining disease.” She has also recovered from several past health scares. But her departure from the Court would allow Trump to nominate a third Supreme Court justice — the most in one presidential term since President Ronald Reagan placed three judges on the highest court during his second term.
The nine-member court is currently divided 5-4 between its conservative and liberal wings. Ginsburg’s departure would allow Trump to create the Court’s strongest conservative majority in decades, a scenario sure to bring intense opposition from Democrats and liberal activists still furious over the October confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“It would be a brutal confirmation,” said John Malcolm, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. “The first two were not easy at all, but this would be much harder in this respect: When Neil Gorsuch was the nominee, you were replacing a conservative with a conservative. With Kavanaugh, you were replacing the perennial swing voter, who more times than not sided with the so-called conservative wing, so that slightly solidified the conservative wing.”
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