Trump bets on Supreme Court battle to mobilize Republicans

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's coffin in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, September 23.

In the fall of 2017, the members of the Federalist Society, the most powerful of the organizations of conservative jurists, received at their annual congress an object intended to make them forget the turbulent beginnings of Donald Trump’s mandate marked by the controversies and repeated dismissals: a red stress ball. It was struck with the effigy of the first judge appointed by the president to the Supreme Court, with the words “But Gorsuch”. In the eyes of the American right, this victory was worth absolution for all the excesses of Trumpism and its deviations from the principles of the Republican Party in terms of free trade or budget balance.

This obsession with the Supreme Court, again illustrated in 2018 during the bitter battle for the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh, weakened by an accusation he denied of sexual assault dating back to his teenage years, explains why the The “Grand Old Party” (GOP) rallied in record time around Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) following the death on September 19 of progressive judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The GOP is poised to bolster the conservative majority in America’s highest legal body from five to six out of nine judges.

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This reinforced majority is well worth the denial of the words spoken in 2016 to block the judge appointed by Barack Obama, Merrick Garland, president of the prestigious Court of Appeal of the District of Columbia, after the brutal death of the ultra-conservative Antonin Scalia in February. It was then necessary to hear the voice of the voters who would vote eight months later. In 2020, a little over six weeks before the presidential election, and while early voting operations have already started in some states, this imperative is no longer on the agenda.

The outcome of the confirmation process is not in doubt. The Republican Party has the 51 votes necessary to confirm the judge that Donald Trump should appoint on Saturday, September 26 to replace the progressive icon. The suspense was lifted on September 22 when Republican Senator from Utah Mitt Romney, elected in 2018, indicated that he was in favor of the procedure taking its course. Previously, two senators, Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) had indicated that they would stick to the rule defended by the Republicans in 2016.

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