Donald Trump is set to nominate a successor to liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died on 18 September. His declaration speaks volumes about the opportunism of the ruling elite. Trump is proposing Amy Coney Barrett, described as a “social conservative”. She is pro gun, anti immigration and against abortion. His calculation is that he can increase his appeal among women that support the religious right’s reactionary agenda. Any nomination must be ratified by the Senate and it is here that the cynicism is most clearly exposed.
In March 2016 its Republican leader Mitch McConnell refused to set a date to consider Barack Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. McConnell justified his intransigence on the seemingly democratic grounds that, “The American people should have a voice in the selection… Therefore this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president .” And yet, within a day of Ginsburg’s death McConnell promised a confirmation hearing for Trump’s candidate without delay. The outcome matters for a number of reasons. In the event that the result of November’s presidential election is disputed, the Supreme Court will determine the outcome.
A Trump appointee will entrench a Republican majority which may well confirm his victory. Beyond January, anti abortionists are planning an assault upon the landmark 1973 Roe v Wade judgment that legalised abortion, other rights are also in peril.