Democrats are rightly angry at the extreme rush with which Trump’s White House and his Senate allies are rushing to fill the Supreme Court post opened by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As of this morning, Trump hasn’t even announced a candidate, but Senators like Lindsey Graham from South Carolina have reassure the public that Trump’s election will be upheld, which calls into question the constitutional role of “advice and consent”. It is likely that the future candidate will take the seat before the next inauguration – and possibly before the presidential election.
There are many procedural grounds for appealing this sprint to the country’s highest court, not least because it violates the principle previously affirmed by many Republican senators that there has been no confirmation of a presidential term in the past year.
Constitutional and procedural objections aside, there’s also the eerie fact that Trump is open about designing a court to prepare for a litigation over the November elections.
Speaking to the press on Wednesday, Trump said“We need nine judges. You need this. With the millions of unsolicited ballots they send out, this is a scam. It’s a joke. Everyone knows that. And the Democrats know better than anyone. So you need nine judges up there. I think it will be very important because what they are doing is joking with the ballot. ”
Nor can Trump’s words be dismissed as empty noise of the kind to which he is often prone. The same day that Trump spoke, Vice President Mike Pence appeared on the Lou Dobbs show on Fox News and made a similar argument. “With all of the talk of universal unsolicited postal ballot papers that states across the country are extending deadlines, there is a possibility that electoral problems could come to the Supreme Court in the days after the election,” said Pence asserts. “All the more we should have nine Supreme Court justices to solve any problems that may arise then or in any other matter.” ONE story just published in The Atlantic documents that Republican officials “discuss contingency plans to circumvent election results and appoint loyal voters in battlefield states where Republicans have a legislative majority.”
Commentary on Trump’s words, earlier Washington Post Reporter Matt O’Brien written down on Twitter: “Trump is like a Bond villain who can’t help but tell us about his plan to rig the elections.” That tells his supporters to vote in person so that he wins the votes … cast himself on election day and then sued to prevent postal ballot papers from being counted. Bush versus Gore 2.0 is the plan. ” New York Times Columnist Jamelle Bouie came to the same conclusion von Pence’s words, “Your plan to ‘win’ the election is Bush versus Gore over steroids.”
If Pence makes the same arguments as Trump, we can safely conclude that O’Brien and Bouie are right: Republicans are trying to repeat Bush versus Gore, the infamous 2000 case that allowed a Republican Supreme Court majority to stop a close election recount and appoint George W. Bush as president.
One difference is that in Bush versus GoreThe court’s intervention came in the Florida recount. In the current election, the plan appears to be clouding the water while the census takes place. Then Trump could declare a premature victory (as Bush did on election night), which creates further confusion.
In many countries, the vote is already characterized by ongoing legal disputes. The problem with the ballot papers in Pennsylvania suggests possible chaos on election day. As CNN Reports,
The Philadelphia Chief Electoral Officer warns that thousands of postal ballot papers could be discarded in November unless changes are made to the rules on “non-disclosure envelopes” – second sleeves that prevent election officials from seeing someone vote. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled last Friday that officials can reject so-called bare ballot papers that are received without a non-disclosure envelope. Officials of the state elections had previously given the districts instructions to count naked ballot papers.
Due to previous elections, 100,000 ballot papers could be issued. In 2016, Donald Trump won Pennsylvania by less than 45,000 votes.
A repetition of Bush versus Gore is not inevitable. Since the debacle of 2000, the Democrats have strengthened their legal game and they are to win significant victories in court battles. If Biden wins a convincing victory in both the referendum and electoral college on election night, it will be virtually impossible for the courts to steal the election. The most recent polls for Biden were regarding that national level as in Swing states.
Even so, Democrats cannot rely on a best-case scenario and should prepare for legal gimmicks. A key factor is a willingness to question the legitimacy of the courts when they intervene in grossly partisan ways. This is something that Al Gore uniquely failed to do in the 2000 election. He put the people’s trust in the legitimacy of the system above his personal ambition. If he had wanted, he could have mobilized popular protests to support a recount. Instead, the only protesters were paid agents of the Republican Party in the infamous “Brooks Brothers UprisingThat stopped the recount.
Gore made a costly mistake. Biden can’t afford to do it again. One way to avoid Gore’s failure is to prepare the public to be skeptical of the court. The current battle of the Supreme Court must be waged not only on abstract principles, but also on outspoken partisan principles. The Biden campaign, supported by the words of Trump and Pence, should make it clear that the current Supreme Court struggle is motivated by a desire to rig the elections.
There are many reasons why Donald Trump cannot vote for the next Supreme Court justice. One of the most important is that Trump must not be allowed to steal the presidency through the courts.