Donald Trump referred to an appointment "without delay" of a successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg who is an icon of progressivism in the Supreme Court of the United States. If it succeeds despite opposition from the Democrats, the Conservatives should have a comfortable majority in the keystone of American institutions.
Why is the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg upsetting America?
Forty-five days before the US presidential election , the dean of the Supreme Court of the United States, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died Friday, September 18 at the age of 87 from pancreatic cancer, leaving a vacancy endowed with great powers, which augurs well for an intense political battle before the November 3 election. Appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, this progressive judge is considered one of the most influential women in United States history
Being fragile in recent years, the champion of the cause of women, minorities or the environment, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been hospitalized twice this summer and her health bulletins followed closely by Democrats who fear that President Donald Trump's hasten to name her successor. Saturday, the president spoke of an appointment "without delay" .
Despite his positioning on the left, Republicans and Democrats immediately paid tribute to her. “Every woman, every girl, every family in America has benefited from her brilliant intelligence" Congressional Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said. “We lost a giant in the history of the country,” added the youngest of the House and representative of the left wing of the party, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Same praise at the other end of the political spectrum. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was "a champion of the law" for the head of American diplomacy Mike Pompeo, a lawyer "brilliant" , "admired" and "influential" according to the Minister of Justice Bill Barr. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close friend of the president, even said he was "sad" at Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.
Informed of his death by journalists at the end of a campaign rally in Minnesota, Donald Trump was content to salute an "exceptional life" , without revealing his intentions before calling it a few hours later "colossus of the Right ” .
His Democratic rival, Joe Biden, paid tribute to the most famous magistrate in the United States. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought for all of us, and she was very loved," he said, calling not to rush to replace her. “Voters must choose the president, and the president must nominate a judge for the Senate,” he said in a press statement.
Why is the choice of a successor to Ruth Bader Ginsburg is important?
The Supreme Court is the keystone of American institutions as the apex of the judiciary. It is therefore called upon to decide on essential questions concerning society, whether it be the death penalty, abortion, the carrying of arms, immigration or civil rights. Its judgments are final and set a precedent. Its nine judges are appointed for life by the president and approved by the Senate, which represents the states. Their ideological orientation, between conservatives and progressives, is therefore essential.
Since his election in 2016, President Donald Trump has appointed two very conservative judges, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The Conservatives have a majority of five seats, compared to four for the Progressives. But the president of the court, moderate conservative John Roberts, has repeatedly sided with the progressives in recent months, notably on Obamacare, much to the president's fury.
If Donald Trump manages to appoint a replacement by the end of his current term on January 20, the Conservatives would have a majority of six votes to three, which makes Democrats fear the questioning of the legislation on abortion or even health insurance (Obamacare). Especially since the Conservatives could keep this majority for a long time to come: the oldest judge, Stephen Breyer, 82, was also appointed by Bill Clinton, the next in age, appointed by George Bush, is 72 years old.
And the various presidents generally choose codes for judges who are around fifty years old, which allows the latter to remain a good thirty years in post at the Supreme Court. For many conservatives, especially Christian evangelists, the appointment of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's successor is even more important than the name of the future president of the United States.
In the shorter term, the Supreme Court may have to decide as a last resort if there were to be major disputes during the presidential election. This had been the case in 2000 for the vote recount in Florida between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore. The conservative majority declared the first winner.
The question is all the more sensitive this year as the proportion of postal votes, used more by Democrats than Republicans, should be high and Donald Trump has already estimated that as a result, the vote would be “Rigged” and that its outcome might “never be determined with precision”.
Can the appointment of the replacement take place before the presidential election?
Donald Trump said in August that he would not hesitate to appoint a judge to the Supreme Court even very close to the election. "I will move quickly," he said on a conservative radio station. Anxious to galvanize voters on the religious right, he had since published a preselection of candidates, conservative judges, for the most part opposed to abortion and in favor of carrying weapons.
According to the Constitution, once he has made his choice, it will be up to the Senate to endorse it. Its leader, Republican Mitch McConnell has already made it known that he would organize a vote, even if he had refused to hear a judge chosen for this post by Barack Obama in 2016, on the pretext that it was a election year. Even if the Republicans have a majority of 53 seats out of 100 in the upper house, some elected moderate Republicans, who face complicated re-election campaigns, could nonetheless defect and each side will, without a doubt, deploy the big names. means to try to convince them.
Republicans have a majority in the Senate until January 6, and the average length of a Supreme Court judge's confirmation is less than 70 days, which should allow the Republican majority to do so before Christmas.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who is on President Trump's list of potential candidates, who in 2016 defended the same position of Mitch McConnell, did not wait to demand that Ruth Bader Ginsburg be replaced. He demanded on Twitter that the president announce his successor as early as next week and that the Senate confirm it before the election. "This appointment , he judged , is why Donald Trump was elected" .
According to NPR radio, Judge Ginsburg had herself confided her last wishes to her granddaughter, Clara Spera. A few days before her death, she would have dictated to him: "My dearest wish is not to be replaced until a new president has taken the oath".