Just five weeks before election day, Barrett’s nomination will spark electorate enthusiasm, left and right. In less than 48 hours after Ginsburg’s death, the liberal group ActBlue raised around $ 100 million for Democratic candidates, while conservative groups dealing with deregulation, social issues, and abortion rights prepared millions of dollars in ad purchases for a controversial validation battle.
“We are all poised to put in a seven-figure effort, as we did with Kavanaugh and Gorsuch,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-backed economic and tax group, said Trump’s other Supreme Court ruling, Judge Neil Gorsuch. “This is a big moment for the country.”
For Trump himself, the aides hope that Barrett will help strengthen his ties to evangelicals and Catholics. Support among these groups had decreased in 2020. Trump cannot afford to alienate or lose parts of his base during a narrow election year, with polls showing Democratic candidate Joe Biden slightly ahead in battlefield states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
After Trump’s announcement, the confirmation process will be forwarded to the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing the week of October 12th. A confirmation hearing by the Supreme Court usually takes three to four days. Then the Republicans of the Senate want to confirm the candidate before the elections, although the Democrats are doing everything possible to delay the process with procedural steps.
“What I saw at her 2017 confirmation hearing, and what I saw day in and day out working for her, is that she has incredible steadfastness and demeanor,” said John Adams, former Barrett Clerk and attorney at Bucket steel LLP. “She will handle this process very well.”
A poll published Friday by ABC / Washington Post found that the majority of Americans believe the Senate should not approve a new justice until after the election, when the presidential race winner is clear. Only 38 percent of Americans polled said confirmation should come before November 3.
But Republicans chose to seize a rare opportunity to plant another Conservative lawyer who could serve for decades – even if that means they may suffer political setbacks or lose their thin Senate majority.
In 2016, President Barack Obama similarly attempted to fill a Supreme Court position during an election year, only to be rejected by McConnell, who controlled the Senate majority, arguing that a new judiciary should not be given a vote until after the presidential election.
That year, in mid-March that year, Obama officially appointed Merrick Garland, the chief judge of the US Appeals Court for the DC Circuit. Many Republicans refused to see him in person. McConnell held the seat open for months until he and Trump were able to confirm Gorsuch, which made many Liberals feel the seat had been stolen.
For the Liberals, it was a reminder of the high political worth of a seat in the Supreme Court – something Republicans focused on decades ago after the Senate refused in 1987 to uphold Robert Bork, one of President Ronald Reagan’s court decisions.
Now McConnell and other key Republicans, including Senate Justice Chairman Lindsey Graham, say the argument of waiting for the election results no longer holds because the same party controls both the Senate and the White House.
The intense focus on Supreme Court affirmation helps Trump in many ways, even if Democrats may view Republicans as hypocrites for falling back on their earlier arguments and speeding up an election year verification process. To begin with, the unexpected battle will divert voters’ attention from more negative headlines on issues that could potentially harm Trump, such as the ongoing pandemic or his refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power. Democrats have tried to play up the idea that a conservative court will ditch Obamacare for millions of Americans during a pandemic a century from now.
Trump had spent weeks looking for news to replace the dire headlines about this administration’s handling of Covid-19, which killed over 200,000 Americans. A validation campaign and all of the controversy it creates fulfills that need, giving the White House another topic to focus on at fundraisers, campaign rallies, and even the upcoming debate on Tuesday, September 29th.
Some judicial professionals like Tobias argue that there isn’t enough time this fall to approve a judge who will sit in the highest court for decades.
“You can’t get it right in 30 days,” said Tobias. “I don’t think the hearings could be shorter than four or five days. If you speed it up, you run the risk of not publicly participating in the process.”
Marianne LeVine and Gabby Orr contributed to this report.