Updated: September 25, 2020 01:50 AM
Created: September 22, 2020 10:20 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Speculation and debate over who will fill Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat is expected to intensify in the coming days. President Trump said he will reveal his nominee on Saturday.
UNM law expert Joshua Kastenberg the decision would have still been a controversial one even if it weren’t weeks away from the election.
“When the bulk of lawyers, or American people for that matter, looked at Justice Ginsburg they looked at integrity, and it’s not that the other justices don't have integrity— they do—but if you want the Supreme Court to be looked at as a reliable institution that's honest and rises above politics, losing Justice Ginsburg, particularly with how things are going now with the confirmation process, or the nomination process just beginning—that's an enormous hole that her departure leaves that it’s going to be hard to fill,” Kastenberg said.
President Trump has come out saying the nominee will likely be a woman. After his announcement, the nominee will be vetted by the Senate Judiciary Committee before going to the full Senate for confirmation.
With six weeks until the election, Republicans are in a rush to get the process started.
“That makes this nomination so unique because I think it's the first time in my lifetime where I can say that's a truism and the reason I say that is there was no expression of remorse for the late Justice Ginsburg's life by those who are pushing for a replacement,” Kastenberg said. “We didn't have 72 hours of national mourning, no sooner did she die then the Senate began gearing up very publicly to nominate her replacement and that's a sad statement.”
Kastenberg said justices have been confirmed in as little as 19 days and that they have to be agreed upon, to some degree, by both political parties before being nominated. However, it’s likely there will be pushback because of the circumstances.
“They can engage in debate they can demand further information from whoever the nominee is,” said Kastenberg. “They can bring up past statements, speeches, lectures to law school students. The two leading contenders have made statements on Roe versus Wade, they've made statements on the rights of gays and lesbians that I think the Democrats will find ample fodder to bring to the attention of the American people.”
The reason to rush the nomination may be obvious. Professor Kastenberg said it draws attention away from other issues, but it could also guarantee a stronger conservative majority on the court if President Trump gets his nomination through.
Justices hold their position as long as they choose and can only be removed by impeachment.
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