Editorial | Trump’s rush to fill Ginsburg’s seat is mutually assured Supreme Court destruction

People gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court following the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in Washington
A placard depicting U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is displayed next to the U.S. Supreme Court, as people gather following her death, in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Ruth Bader Ginsburg will forever be remembered as one of the true giants of the Supreme Court — an unparalleled champion of equal rights for every American. 

Throughout her 27 years on the bench, which ended with her untimely death on Sept. 18 at the age of 87, she demonstrated proud service to the American people with her undying campaign to fulfill “equal justice under law.” Ginsburg always put first the Constitution, our democratic republican system of government, and the unalienable rights of the individual.

The loss of this great American comes at the worst possible time — the throes of the most contentious presidential election we’ve ever had, involving a president that never lets an opportunity to seize further political power go to waste.

President Trump says he will move forward with nominating a successor to Ginsburg’s seat, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — self-proclaimed member of the Republican Party-turned-obedient-party-of-Trump — says he’ll move it forward to a vote.

Never mind, of course, that McConnell wouldn’t give Merrick Garland — President Obama’s nomination to succeed the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court — the time of day months ahead of the 2016 presidential election. 

Back then, McConnell said it was too close to the election to move forward with the Senate’s “advise and consent” responsibilities. Now, less than 50 days out from the 2020 election, timing suddenly isn’t an issue.

McConnell’s hypocrisy and Trump’s brazenness threaten to tear the country apart even further. Democrats are already talking about adding two or more seats to the Supreme Court if Trump and McConnell ram through a nominee — should Joe Biden win the presidency in November.

Court-packing would be the last, best instrument of neutralizing three partisan appointments made by an impeached president who lost the popular vote four years ago. 

But it also opens a Pandora’s box to further politicize the Supreme Court, allowing parties to pack the court each time they win to get rulings favorable to them. The independence of the Judiciary, already undermined for decades through partisan appointments, would be forever dissolved. 

Trump and McConnell have set the country up for the mutually assured destruction of the Supreme Court — the greatest arbiter of justice in our country. Moving forward with filling Ginsburg’s seat now will set this country back decades.

Trump and McConnell’s mutual selfishness threaten to bring the country to a breaking point. They must pull back.