Trump eyes a turnaround with fight over filling Supreme Court seat

By The SATimes News Service

Washington:  The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg weeks before the Nov 3 election is being called  a wild card by the media. The fight over appointing a new, conservative justice to fill the vacancy on the top court has certainly offered President Trump a new message.

For months, the focus of the 2020 campaign has been on the President’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 200,000 people in the U.S., and the resulting recession that has put millions out of work. But Trump allies see the new Supreme Court vacancy as a way to rally conservatives who may have been wavering  and give Trump a new issue to hammer home in the closing weeks, writes The Hill.

Trump basked in the opportunity to appoint a third Supreme Court justice in his first term as President with supporters at a rally over the weekend in the swing state of North Carolina, musing about printing T-shirts that read “Fill that seat” and polling the crowd on whether to pick a man or a woman.

Ford O’Connell, a Florida-based Republican strategist, argued that the nomination process could help win over Republicans who might not otherwise favor his reelection.

At the same time, the brewing fight over the nominee to replace Ginsburg is likely to further energize the left, raising the stakes of what already promised to be a tense final stretch of the campaign. Some of the president’s allies also conceded that the impact of the court fight might be limited because the judicial issue will not overtake the economy or coronavirus as top issues in the election.

Trump has said Monday he expects to announce his nominee, which will be a woman, by this weekend.  That timing would allow him to name his pick just days before the first presidential debate with Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Sept. 29. The president made clear he prefers that the Senate vote on his nominee before Election Day, setting up a furious schedule over the coming weeks that already includes a brewing battle over government funding to avert a shutdown in early October.

The president has frequently touted his torrid pace of appointing more than 200 conservative judges to the federal bench, including two Supreme Court picks – Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanagh.

This time, Trump’s favorite seems to be Amy Coney Barrett, whom he nominated to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and has already interviewed this time. She is favored by white evangelicals, who represent a key element of the president’s base.  Barbara Lagoa, a Trump nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, is another contender. She is a Cuban American and native of Florida, a key battleground state where polls show a close race between Trump and Biden.


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