Monday, January 29, 2018

Supreme Court Vacancies?

Democrats are biting nails over the possibility of multiple vacancies on the Supreme Court. It is widely expected that Justice Kennedy, the court's lone (left leaning) centrist, will step down at the end of the current term. Assuming this is true, President Trump will have the opportunity to replace him before the next Congress is seated. Which depending on the election this fall, could see the Senate shift to Democratic control.

That's bad enough for liberals as Kennedy has been the swing vote for a lot of very controversial decisions that went their way. But what is keeping them awake at night is the possibility that one, or even two of the court's more liberal justices might also stand down. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84 and has been dealing with serious health issues for years. She is often seen falling asleep in public, sometimes while on the bench. The other possible vacancy is Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Just 63, she has been struggling with diabetes and is rumored to be having difficulty remaining focused in her work. Court watchers have suggested that she appears to have aged dramatically over the last year.

My personal opinion is that neither of these liberal icons will stand down this year unless they just can't do the job anymore. With Trump in the White House I suspect that they would rather die in office than voluntarily give him the opportunity to name their successor. But Trump has the better part of three years remaining in his term of office and that is a long time for two judges with serious medical conditions, and one in her mid 80's. It seems likely that Trump will have the opportunity to name at least one more justice, and possibly as many as three.

This is why Democrats are desperate to regain control of the Senate. If the two liberal justices can hang on one more year and the Democrats flip the Senate then Trump will be severely constrained in his ability to get conservative nominees confirmed. After what the GOP did to Obama's nominee, which Democrats are still seething over, my guess is that the only man Trump would have any chance of getting confirmed would be Merrick Garland.


lannes said...

Once they're dead, why should they care who succeeds them?
As for Garland, he is so of the past!

Deacon Nicholas said...

My servant, Nebuchadnezzar....