In the event that you've been without a television, a smart phone, access to a news paper or devoid of eyes and/or ears, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday.
This means that there is an open seat on the Supreme Court. The Constitution has a procedure for how open Supreme Court seats are filled. It's simple, the President nominates a human being, the Senate votes on whether or not that person shall be appointed to SCOTUS. If they vote yes, then the person is appointed to the Supreme Court for life. If they vote no, the President appoints someone else and they repeat this process until someone is confirmed. There you go, it's really that simple.
Trump has said he plans to nominate a woman this week. McConnell has said he will hold a vote on the nomination. That's how this process is supposed to work.
But. . . you say, "this is an election year and Mitch McConnell didn't put Merrick Garland's appointment to a vote because it was an election year in 2016 and he said the people should decide!" Yes, yes, this is the argument we will hear non-stop for the next 40+ days. It's a faulty equivalence though, because what happened with Merrick Garland in 2016 was consistent with Senate procedural precedent. Similarly, if Trump nominated someone for SCOTUS and the Senate votes to confirm before the election, this would be consistent with established Senate procedural precedent. How so? Let's dig deeper.
Filling a vacancy during a president election year is not unprecedented, in fact, presidents have made 25 nominations to fill Supreme Court vacancies during presidential election years and the Senate has confirmed 21 of those nominees.
There is an exception to this rule though, which provides that when a nominee is chosen in an election year by a president of the opposite party, you let the voters decide. It has been over 100 years, since 1888, since a SCOTUS nominee from a President of the opposing party was confirmed the senate. In 2016, President Obama appointed Garland and Republicans held the senate - that's why McConnell didn't hold a vote. So by putting this vacancy to a vote, McConnell is actually being consistent with established precedent. You don't have to like it, but it's the truth.
Moreover, if we want to talk hypocrisy, lets see what our Democratic friends were saying back in 2016:
Hmph, it's almost like hypocrisy is a two-way street here (and McConnell is only appearing to be hypocrtical).
Others have been arguing that that filling this seat will cause CHAOS, PANIC, and maybe even CIVIL WAR like this douche bag warns:
To that I say, we have the Constitution and precedence on our side and if they resort to violence because of a SCOTUS vacancy - then they are literally insurrectionists and should be prepared to be treated accordingly. If people have a problem with the Constitution, they can try and amend the document (and they will).
Concerned Republicans are saying that the Republicans should wait until after the election because this will hurt them politically in November - that the people will be outraged and they will lose the senate. If you're a Republican Senator worried about how your re-election prospects, then consider how it will look to when Democrats slam, smear and discredit a woman being appointed to the court. The most likely candidate to fill this open seat is former Notre Dame law professor and current justice sitting on U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Amy Coney Barrett.
The Democrats already disgraced themselves during Barrett's appeals court confirmation hearing in 2018, when Diane Feinstein said this about Barrett's faith:
There you go, Catholics. You're all dogmatic lunatics, unfit to serve on SCOTUS! Still going to vote Biden and blue this November?
Worried about Democrats responding by abolishing the filibuster, packing the courts and admitting new states if they win back the Senate in November? They were running on doing these things before RBG passed:
Worried about denying RBG's "last dying wish" that he seat be filled in 2021?
It's not RBG's seat, it's the people's seat. The people elected this President in 2016 and this Senate in 2018 and invested them with the power to nominate and confirm, respectively.
Listen, the Democrats have found their rallying cry for November. Democrat voter enthusiasm will spike (it already has) at the prospect of filling an open SCOTUS vacancy and it will spike if the Republicans confirm the seat vacated by their sacred calf. So if the Republicans are going to lose because of this vacancy - they are going lose whether they confirm someone or not (I am not certain that is actually true).
So that's it. The path is set. Do not waver. Nominate. Vote. Confirm. Fill the seat. Let the chips fall where they may.
Update: McConnell reiterates that Trump's nominee will receive a vote while speaking on the floor of the Senate today.