Politics

Here Are 4 Ways Democrats Might Try To Block Trump’s Supreme Court Nomination

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death Sept. 18 set the stage for a bitter partisan battle over whether President Donald Trump should have the opportunity to pick a replacement with just weeks before November’s presidential election.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the president’s nominee “will receive a vote on the floor” in a statement shortly after Ginsburg’s death and Trump called on Republicans to replace her vacant seat “without delay” in a tweet the next day.

But Democrats are expected to fight back against what could potentially be Trump’s third Supreme Court pick so far. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly told Democrats that “nothing is off the table” if Republicans move forward with the nomination process, according to The Hill. Here are four tricks Democrats might use to try and block Trump’s nomination.

Impeachment

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, during a Sunday appearance on ABC, floated the idea of House Democrats introducing articles of impeachment against Trump or Attorney General William Barr in an effort to stall the nomination. “Well, we have our options,” Pelosi told ABC host George Stephanopoulos. “We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now.”

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Congressional legal experts say impeaching Trump a second time is within the law and a new impeachment battle on Capitol Hill could potentially prevent the Senate from acting on the nomination process, Newsweek reported. The president seemed to welcome the challenge. “I want them to do it,” he told a crowd in Swanton, Ohio during a campaign rally Monday.

Tulane Law School professor Ross Garber said the plan was unlikely to be successful. “Impeachment wouldn’t slow the Senate down,” he tweeted Sunday. “There’s no requirement that an impeachment trial precludes all other Senate business.”

Packing the Supreme Court

The Constitution does not specify how many justices must serve on the Supreme Court and the number has fluctuated between six and 10. If Democrats were to control both chambers of Congress and the presidency, they could pass a law that increases the number of justices on the court and thus negate any impact Trump’s pick would have, according to The Washington Post.

But most Democrats don’t appear to be on board. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has said she believes the number of court justices is “appropriate” and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said such a proposition “delegitimizes the Court,” according to Forbes.

Biden himself has historically opposed court-packing although on the campaign trail he refused to comment on whether he would support expanding the Supreme Court if elected president, Politico reported. Biden told Action 2 News in an interview Monday that focusing on the question would only “shift all the focus.”

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Picking off moderate Republicans

Republicans appear to have secured enough votes to confirm Trump’s nominee after Utah Sen. Mitt Romney became the latest lawmaker to announce his support. Romney has been viewed as a Trump critic and even voted to convict the president earlier this year during his impeachment trial, BBC News reported.

48 of the 53 Republicans in the Senate have announced their intention to support their nominee, according to a Washington Post tally. Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, along with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, have yet to make a formal announcement.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins announced Sept. 19 that she would not support a Supreme Court nominee before the election and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski initially voiced her opposition, Fox News reported. McConnell can only afford to lose one more vote and Democrats might try to pick off moderate Republicans, especially those who face tight re-election races.

“Burn down the country”

If Democratic lawmakers are unable to use government to enforce their demands, they might just galvanize a mass movement to oppose the Republicans. The country is already in the middle of ongoing civil unrest that began after the death of George Floyd earlier this year.

Social media posts after Ginsburg’s death have invoked violence, with some Twitter users going so far as to call for burning down Congress and even the country, Fox News reported. Among those invoking violence on social media include users with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Calling for violence could be an invocation of what is already happening in major cities across the country. Ongoing riots have led to a spike in violent crime and are now the most expensive instance of civil unrest in American history, costing more than $1 billion in damage according to a recent report.