Follow precedent, do not fill Supreme Court’s empty seat

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, died on Sept. 18, and immediately there was a push from President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to fill her seat before the upcoming presidential election.

When Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016, McConnell refused to consider any of President Barack Obama’s choices for the empty seat in the U.S. Supreme Court. Now that there is a Republican president in office, he has decided to push for the seat to be filled so it can be a conservative majority.

McConnell said in 2016 that the seat should not be filled until there is a new president. Now that the tables are turned, why is he not respecting past precedent?

This is a power grab, plain and simple. Politics have become divided to the point that the politicians representing us have no desire to listen to the people. Democrats and Republicans alike want their party to be in control with no regard for real people.

Not only are many Republicans in the U.S. Senate ignoring the precedent set in 2016, they are also ignoring what they promised if a seat should open.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham tweeted that he will support Trump’s move to fill the seat. However, this is not the sentiment he held in the past.

“If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election,″ Graham said in 2018 at an event hosted by The Atlantic magazine.

The worst part about this quote is how specific it is to this exact situation, and now he has decided that’s not what he believes anymore. He only said that to look better at the time, and now that it’s a reality, he wants to stack the Supreme Court with conservative votes.

Senator Thomas Tillis said in a statement on Sept. 19 he will also support Trump’s nominee. Yet again, this is not what he said in 2016.

“The campaign is already underway. It is essential to the institution of the Senate and to the very health of our republic to not launch our nation into a partisan, divisive confirmation battle during the very same time the American people are casting their ballots to elect our next president,” Tillis said during a 2016 speech on the Senate floor.

Thankfully, some Republicans in the Senate want to uphold the precedent set in 2016, but it is extremely concerning that the Senate majority leader and our president insist on filling the seat so quickly without any consideration for the American people.

These Republican politicians can completely contradict themselves from only a few years ago with no shame. We need to hold them accountable. We have to show up and make our voices heard. We have to vote. We have to make sure they know they will not stay in office if they behave this way.

The problem with the Supreme Court having a majority of conservative votes is dangerous for American minorities and women. Roe V. Wade could be overturned. Dreamers could be deported. Supreme Court Justices do not leave their positions unless they choose to or die. This is a huge deal and we need to take it seriously and fight back.

The only thing we can do right now is call our senators, and ask them not to fill the seat until after the election. We have to make it clear we will vote them out if they try to jump for this power grab. The only way they will know is if we tell them and make noise.

To find out who your senators are and their contact information, click here.