With Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg missing oral arguments for the first time in her 25 years on the Supreme Court due to ongoing health issues, the White House is beginning to prepare for another brutal confirmation battle should Ginsburg not be able continue as a justice.
The White House is reportedly reaching out to political allies and conservative activist groups in advance of Ginsburg stepping down due to her health issues. A short list of candidates is reportedly being vetted, and allies are being told to get ready for another fight.
The activity brings up the question: Does President Trump know something about Ginsburg’s condition that we don’t yet know?
Last November, the 85-year-old Ginsburg fell in her office, breaking three ribs and causing her to miss the formal inauguration of recently confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Ginsburg was initially hospitalized and released to recover from the injury.
But in December, news came out that two cancerous growths were found while x-rays of her ribs were taken. In late December, Ginsburg underwent surgery to have those growths removed. Doctors have said that there is “no evidence of any remaining disease." Both Ginsburg and the court have been very quiet on her condition, saying only that she is “working from home.”
Working at home sounds reasonable given Justice Ginsburg’s condition. But Ginsburg has powered through health problems before. In 1999, she was treated for colon cancer; in 2009, she was treated for pancreatic cancer; and in 2014, she had a stent implanted to open a blocked artery. During all of those health issues, Ginsburg never missed a day of oral arguments.
So this health issue, given her age and extremely fragile appearance, seems a little different.
With conservatives holding a 5-4 advantage following the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, another Trump nominee has the potential to shift the balance of power on the court for decades. Fresh off the highly contentious Kavanaugh hearing, might another nomination bring even worse behavior by leftists?
“It would be a brutal confirmation,” John Malcolm, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Meese for Legal and Judicial Studies told Politico. “The first two were not easy at all, but this time would be much harder in this respect: When Neil Gorsuch was the nominee, you were replacing a conservative with a conservative. With Kavanaugh, you were replacing the perennial swing voter, who more times than not sided with the conservative wing, so that slightly solidified the conservative wing.”
But a new Trump nominee would potentially replace one of the court’s most ardent liberals with a conservative and truly change the court for decades. “But if you are replacing Justice Ginsburg with a Trump appointee, that would be akin to replacing Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas,” Malcom pointed out. “It would mark a large shift in the direction of the court.”
Among those reportedly on Trump’s short list of candidates is 7th Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, whose name was floated last year as a potential pick for the seat that Kavanaugh eventually got. Coney Barrett was harassed last year in her confirmation hearing for the Circuit Court by Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) who, referencing Barrett’s Catholic faith, said, “The dogma lives loudly within you.”
Also reportedly on Trump’s short list of candidates are Joan Larsen of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, Raymond Kethledge of the 6th Circuit Court, Britt Grant of the 11th Circuit, and Thomas Hardiman of the 3rd Circuit.
Whoever the next pick is, the White House needs to vet him or her with a fine-toothed comb and prepare the candidate for the mudstorm that will surely come — whether his or her record is clean or not. Democrats, who fought so dirty during the Kavanaugh confirmation, will stop at nothing to block the next nominee.
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is the brand-new head of the Senate Judicial Committee, who famously defended Kavanaugh against the filthy tactics Democrats used against him.
When Ginsburg initially fell last November, that whooshing sound you may have heard was the collective gasp of every leftist in the United States. Fresh off of losing the bitter battle to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the bench, the Left in America is terrified at the prospect of Donald Trump nominating a third justice to the Supreme Court.
And a court that more closely adheres to the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution is why it was so important to keep the Senate in GOP hands in the midterms last November.
Photo of Ruth Bader Ginsburg: U.S. Supreme Court