Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last week following a battle with cancer. Many are remembering her for her advocacy in key cases and the representation she provided.
However, some are merely drooling over the seat she leaves behind.
Many senate republicans are pushing for President Donald Trump to appoint and for the senate to confirm a nominee before the election in November.
A justice passing away during a presidential election year. Déjà vu anyone?
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, about 269 days before that year’s national election.
The GOP-controlled Senate fought to ensure former President Barack Obama, the exiting president, did not fill Scalia’s seat. Officials argued the decision should belong to the president elect since it was so close to the election.
Ginsburg died 46 days before Americans head to the polls.
So, both sides should be OK with delaying the appointment to the bench, right? The GOP fought hard to ensure that Obama’s pick of Merrick Garland did not go through in 2016. They set a precedent in their actions.
Precedent is important in politics; almost everything in our democracy is based on precedent set by our founding documents, actions and court rulings. In some cases, precedents must be challenged. This is not one of those cases.
The situation of Ginsburg’s to Scalia’s is too similar to disregard what happened in 2016.
Our politicians are not guiding themselves by precedent, but rather greed for a seat that could swing the court.
The precedent set in 2016 was tossed out the window.
Rules should be applied consistently. One side cannot complain of the other’s actions and then pull the same stunt when the situation benefits them.
In an NBC News article, Obama said, “A basic principle of the law – and of everyday fairness – is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”
To fight so hard for something you fought against four years ago delegitimizes your actions. It makes your argument fallible – no matter how good or bad it may have been.
According to NPR, Ginsburg shared with her granddaughter days before her death, a wish.
“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” Ginsburg said.
According to ABC News, a group of republican senators including Susan Collins said any confirmation vote should wait until after the election and should be selected by the presidential nominee.
By waiting until after the election, our elected officials will allow the people to “weigh in” on the decision. When reelecting a president, the American people are approving of his or her actions. This is the same as when a sitting president loses his or her reelection bid, as the people are sharing their disapproval. The winner of the election will have the mandate of the people. Either President Donald Trump or Joe Biden will fill Ginsburg’s seat.
But no matter who Americans vote for, they can learn a lot from Scalia and Ginsburg.
These two justices came from polar opposite ideological backgrounds. Yet, they found common ground and became friends with one another. They both shared a love for opera music. Scalia and Ginsburg often disagreed and interpreted cases differently, yet they formed a friendship despite their differences. That friendship is something in which those who live in these hyperpolarized states of America can learn.
"Your World Today" is a weekly column written by the editor-in-chief of The Slate. It represents solely the subjective opinion of the individual who wrote it. For Staff Editorial opinions, see this week's "The Slate Speaks."