No Minister

A death is a long time in politics

HOLY SHIT! As if 2020 could not get crazier.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is dead.

UPDATE: I’ve linked to it in the comments but this is an article very much worth reading to understand the various factors, including precedent, in dealing with Ginsburg’s death.

She has died from complications of pancreatic cancer, having fought cancer several times over the last two decades.

I don’t think many people appreciated it at the time but the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia in 2016 electrified the Conservatives in the USA.

I believe it was the primary reason for the GOP holding on to the Senate when it was widely thought they would lose. Whatever wobbles might come from other GOP-nominated Justices like Chief Roberts, Scalia was the rock. His death scared the living shit out of the Conservatives, especially given Trump’s expected loss in the 2016 election. The Supreme Court would be pushed in a Left-wing direction for the first time in decades; it would not just be a “Liberal” replacement as had been the case with two Obama picks for the court.

So now the question is how much this will electrify the Democrat voters. This is the great fear they have had for the last ten years as The Notorious RBG (as she became known) grew old and frail.

The other question is whether Trump and the Mitch McConnell-led Senate will try to replace her before the election, now less than 60 days away. In normal times I would have said that they would not; holding to tradition and all that. Moreover, centrist GOP Senators like Murkowski and Collins would be very unwilling to put their necks on the line at this time. In fact I would be willing to bet that both Murkowski and Romney would vote against any Trump nominee, and possibly other GOP Senators as well.

The filibuster was nuked by Harry Reid when he was the Democrat Leader of the Senate, that was only for lower court appointments, not the Supreme Court. It was also something the GOP warned him not to do, on the simple basis that they might hold power one day. Reid and the Democrats arrogantly ignored that and have paid the price during Trump’s first term as McConnell and company have pushed record numbers of new, Conservative judges onto the benches of every lower court in the USA – some 300 positions now. McConnell’s motto became: “Let no vancancy go unfilled”. And of course he then nuked it for SCOTUS votes so that Gorsuch could be put on the bench in 2017 when to became obvious that the Democrats would stall that vote as revenge for McConnell refusing to vote on Obama’s nominee in 2016.

Then there’s the potential impact on SCOTUS taking a role in the widely-expected fight over ballots in this election, considering what happened in the 2000 Presidential election when the SCOTUS overruled the Florida State Supreme Court and stopped the review of ballots, allowing the state to be called for George W Bush. The 2020 election was already shaping up to legally leave even that one in the dust and all eyes would turn to SCOTUS sooner or later. Would a 5-3 decision be accepted in such an environment? What choice would Chief Justice Roberts have though in the face of a 4-4 stalemate?

But perhaps this will all be moot if this decision frightens Democrat voters as much as the Scalia death did Conservatives in 2016. Even if not enough to push Biden over the line, it might solidify the Democrats already good prospects for taking the Senate.

“the dogma lives loudly within you”

Paradoxically, would that prospect finally cause McConnell to go nuclear now? This election itself just went to DEFCON 1.

Three last words to explain the terror that Democrats must be feeling:

Amy Coney Barret

They live in South Bend, Indiana and have seven children: five biological children and two children adopted from Haiti. Her youngest biological child has special needs. Barrett is a practicing Roman Catholic.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 19, 2020 at 1:17 pm

27 Responses

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  1. Best headline I’ve seen for a while.


    September 19, 2020 at 12:15 pm

  2. I guess we’ll see Mitch McConnel arguing that the replacement must be left until after the elections.

    Yeah, RighT!

    Gustavo Frink

    September 19, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    • From the NRO link posted below:

      History supports Republicans filling the seat. Doing so would not be in any way inconsistent with Senate Republicans’ holding open the seat vacated by Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. The reason is simple, and was explained by Mitch McConnell at the time.

      Historically, throughout American history, when their party controls the Senate, presidents get to fill Supreme Court vacancies at any time — even in a presidential election year, even in a lame-duck session after the election, even after defeat.

      Historically, when the opposite party controls the Senate, the Senate gets to block Supreme Court nominees sent up in a presidential election year, and hold the seat open for the winner. Both of those precedents are settled by experience as old as the republic. Republicans should not create a brand-new precedent to deviate from them.

      Tom Hunter

      September 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    • It would be tempting to appoint a replacement before the election but what a show of strength it would be for President Trump to announce that he will be appointing a replacement in his second term when he retains a majority in the Senate and in the House of Reps. Power move, hello 🙂


      September 20, 2020 at 12:36 am

    • Tom, Lindsay Graham has already set the precedent for Republicans to follow.

      Guess he was lying. BAU for Republicans.

      Gustavo Frink

      September 20, 2020 at 9:48 am

    • Lindsay Graham has already set the precedent for Republicans to follow. Guess he was lying. BAU for Republicans.

      Good thing that these matters of precedent are not based on the words or actions of one man, right Obama? – with bonus Joe quote from his time as Senator but spoken in 2016:

      “I would go forward with the confirmation process as chairman. Even a few months before a presidential election… just as the Constitution requires.”


      Isn’t politics wonderful?

      Tom Hunter

      September 20, 2020 at 10:17 am

  3. So, does Trump have a ready conservative option to fill the “Jewish” seat on the SCOTUS? And if so, is Ben Shapiro even really qualified?! 😳😂


    September 19, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    • Nah! Probably another Roman Catholic to join the six or so already there. 😉😃

      Tom Hunter

      September 19, 2020 at 12:40 pm

    • And I see that RBG died on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Must mean…something. ✡️🕎

      But whatever the effects, they are unlikely to be as long and as significant compared to when Roman Catholic zealot “Bloody” Mary I of England and her Roman papist Archbishop of Canterbury, Reginald Pole both died on the same day in 1558. As Mary’s successor, Elizabeth I replied, after sinking to her her knees having been informed of the news, “This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118: 23). And the date, November 17, was celebrated as a jubilee for over 150 years!

      Oh, yes, and speaking of the continuity and uncodified conventions of Westminster Government, does anyone want to try and convince me that with all these prospective convention-overturning political machinations and horse-trading on the eve of their national election that somehow the American Constitution provides for better protections of its citizens, indeed better government including and especially because of the clear delineation of the separation of powers?! 😳😂


      September 19, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    • Hilarious observation but Ben and his multi-million dollar company have fled the Democrat run cesspool of LA and have moved to Nashville so the commute may be a problem 🙂


      September 20, 2020 at 12:27 am

  4. I don’t know which I like more.

    The sound of sobbing Democrats or the sound of ‘Justice Cruz.’


    September 19, 2020 at 12:58 pm

  5. So, the “events my dear fellow, events” crap shoot that will determine this election just got even more interesting and complex.

    If they are prepared to gamble, Trump and the GOP will hold off seeking to appoint a replacement.

    Sure, voters in liberal New York or California will also be energised, but that is the case eIther way, and due to the electoral college it plays no part in determining the election for POTUS. But if the Supreme Court seat is still vacant on Election Day, then it holds a gun to the head of swing state moderates.

    Indeed, it presents them with a real and significant alternative in giving Trump another four years in office and the likelihood of creating a generation-long legacy of a significantly more conservative Supreme Court. Hence I’d be tempted to gamble, because you can then scare those voters more effectively with the Biden/Harrison/Woke alternative on abortion, gun control, immigration, law and order, affirmative action and all the other real issues…and occasional ideological shibboleths.


    September 19, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    • I think the fear factor will run stronger in the other direction this time as almost all those arguments will now play stronger for the Democrats. The Scalia death threatened to upend the delicate balance of power (terror?) on key Conservative issues like 2nd amendment and so forth.

      This time it threatens the balance of power on things like abortion where – despite all the screaming from Democrats over the last thirty years – even GOP-nominated Justices like O’Connor and company not only did not overturn Roe v Wade but actually embedded it.

      Having a 6-3 GOP nominated Court can be held to be just as scary for the Democrats on those issues they care about. Perhaps scarier in that “centrist” Justices like Roberts are increasingly despised and distrusted by GOP voters, with the resulting pressure to nominate more like Thomas and Alito.

      As well as the fact that SCOTUS wins and losses are increasingly seen as being all-or-nothing events by each side, and here’s just one example seen in the last few minutes:

      Quote on fb already from hyper-liberal (professor of law) friend:
      “go ahead, confirm one, we’ll confirm four”.
      They’re already talking about packing the SCOTUS if her replacement is confirmed.

      Tom Hunter

      September 19, 2020 at 1:10 pm

  6. It must be pretty difficult to successfully nominate a Judge when it is just over 6 weeks to the election. Both a nomination and an approval by the Senate, which would almost certainly take place after the election, potentially by a rump Senate where the majority has shifted with the election.
    I know it is theoretically possible, but it surely is politically very risky.

    Wayne Mapp

    September 19, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    • The GOP will do it in a heartbeat.

      Michael Ernest

      September 19, 2020 at 2:46 pm

  7. Interesting comment from Never-Trumper, Dan McLaughlin, at NRO Online, published just a month ago as speculation about RBG mounted.

    “Twenty-nine times in American history there has been an open Supreme Court vacancy in a presidential election year, or in a lame-duck session before the next presidential inauguration…. The president made a nomination in all twenty-nine cases.”

    A nomination it should be noted. Not the same as a Senate vote, let alone a winning one.

    Missed this somehow:

    “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” Senator McConnell says in statement regarding Justice Ginsburg’s replacement.

    Tom Hunter

    September 19, 2020 at 2:14 pm

  8. Charming people, these lefties!

    ‘fuck you Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    fuck you for not retiring under Obama

    fuck you for dying under Trump

    fuck you

    fuck you

    fuck you’

    Here’s President Trump’ reaction.

    ‘She was an amazing woman. I’m very sad to hear it.


    September 19, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    • Sorry, are we meant to be judging the ethics of this comparison by the civility or the sincerity of the people publicly expressing the sentiments? 😳😂


      September 19, 2020 at 2:59 pm

  9. The Supreme Court was always used as a vehicle for the rich and powerful to veto public opinion. Time to reverse Roe vs Wade. It’s happening.


    September 19, 2020 at 3:53 pm

  10. Pb,

    Numerous polls have a majority of Americans supporting Roe v Wade. Reversal won’t happen, even if there was a new conservative judge. Roberts, and perhaps Kavanagh, would uphold Roe V Wade.

    Wayne Mapp

    September 19, 2020 at 6:13 pm

    • Yep. As per above, for all the piss and wind and noise and posturing by those for and against it, abortion in the USA is for all practical purposes a shibboleth. It’s only real practical purpose is to “mobilise the base” in response to the fear their ideological foes will overturn the status quo.


      September 19, 2020 at 6:18 pm

  11. When then-President Obama tried to replace Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia after Scalia’s death in the February before the 2016 election, the move was blocked by Republicans specifically because, they argued, it was undemocratic to make a lifetime appointment so close to an election. “If we now say that months prior to the election is OK when nine months was not, that is a double standard and I don’t believe we should do it.”


    September 19, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    • Already answered earlier in the thread here.

      Tom Hunter

      September 19, 2020 at 7:07 pm

  12. Three last words to explain the terror that Democrats must be feeling

    “Democrats?” You’re thinking way too small. How about “anyone who’d prefer the USA to be something more than a less-disciplined version of Iran?”

    Psycho Milt

    September 19, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    • Yeah, nah.

      I suspect your statement might be Pavlovian virtue signalling that is deemed wit in the circles in which you inhabit, Milt, but in what meaningful way is the USA in danger of becoming a one party theocratic state that violates human rights and suppresses freedom of the press and other constitutional safeguards with impunity?


      September 19, 2020 at 10:36 pm

    • Kimbo, if you can type that with a straight face you have not been paying attention.

      Gustavo Frink

      September 20, 2020 at 9:41 am

    • Well yes. Ginsberg saw abortion as a great vehicle to reduce the “populations of those people we don’t want to have too many of.”

      Which was right in line with the thinking of co-counsel on the Roe case, Ron Weddington, as he demonstrated years later in letter to President Bill Clinton where he advised Clinton to strive for tough solutions:

      “[G]overnment is going to have to provide vasectomies, tubal ligations and abortions … RU486 and conventional abortions.”

      With his motivation being candidly expressed that this was needed to:

      “eliminate the barely educated, unhealthy, and poor segment of our country.”

      He actually used the word “immediately” in the same sentence and then – just to make it clear – he finished the letter with this:

      “We don’t need more cannon fodder. We don’t need more parishioners. We don’t need more cheap labor. We don’t need more poor babies.”

      Margaret Sanger and Ginsburg approved of such thinking, although I see Sanger has finally been cancelled by the Left. In spite of her award being showered upon the likes of Hillary Clinton over the years I guess the proportion of Black abortions finally began to tweak some consciences on the US Left.

      Tom Hunter

      September 20, 2020 at 9:55 am

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