Politicians: set personal agendas aside, leave the seat open

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By Devon Rocke, Opinion Editor The announcement came just 38 days before Election Day on Nov. 3: President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In his rush to fill the seat, Trump defied presidential history, as no first term president has ever selected a...

By Devon Rocke, Opinion Editor

The announcement came just 38 days before Election Day on Nov. 3: President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. In his rush to fill the seat, Trump defied presidential history, as no first term president has ever selected a Supreme Court nominee so close to Election Day. 

In March 2016, former President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia but was quickly shut down by Republican senators who believed that Obama’s nomination was too close to the election.

Two of the strongest opponents of Garland’s 2016 nomination included current Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. 

Back in 2016, McConnell had no issue rejecting Obama’s nomination, claiming that the Senate needed far more than eight months prior to an election to consider a nominee. Now, with a Republican majority in the Senate, McConnell is in full support of filling Ginsburg’s seat. Hypocrisy and partisan politics at their finest.

Even Graham is going back on his word — literally. 

“I want you to use my words against me,” Graham challenged after Scalia’s death. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.” 

Well, there you have it. Despite his refusal to support a nomination four years ago under similar circumstances, Graham now finds it convenient to abandon his 2016 promise. Though Graham’s departure from his previous point of view is within guidance of the Constitution, this is nothing more than a desperate grab for greater partisan power.

We have to remember that appointing a justice is not a trivial matter: since Supreme Court justices serve for life, appointing one will affect the way America runs for decades to come. A conservative justice like Barrett, who has commented in the past about repealing the Roe v. Wade case that helped pave the way for abortion and birth control in 1973, could potentially set place restrictions on clinics as well as question late-term abortions. This could unravel 50 years of progress on behalf of women’s rights.

Moreover, appointing a justice this close to an election will simply negate the voices of the American public if Democratic candidate Joe Biden is elected. Power would no longer align with conservative beliefs, but with more liberal ones, so having the number of conservative judges greatly outweigh the number of liberal ones would just be poor representation on behalf of the public. However, this could just as easily make conservatives feel unheard. After years of conservatives outweighing them, liberals could tip the scales just as much and cause unrest.

We should not avoid the topic of Ginsburg’s open position forever, but we should wait until after Election Day to make a decision. For once, McConnell and Graham — among other selfish politicians — need to set their own agendas aside and honor what is best for our country right now: an intermission.  

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