SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A battle is brewing in the Senate as the Trump administration races to replace an empty Supreme Court seat.
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday. Not long after, President Donald Trump announced he will nominate someone by the end of the week.
However, it is still unclear if he’ll have enough Republican votes to confirm a new justice. At least two Republicans say they will oppose a vote before the election.
“Even if they don’t have the votes, it probably makes political sense to move forward with a nomination,” said Dr. Joshua Kennedy, a professor of political science at Georgia Southern University, “because if it ultimately fails, there’s a potential it could galvanize their voters to think, ‘we need to get to the polls, we need to make sure we hold onto the Senate and the president is reelected.'”
Kennedy says Ginsburg’s passing is a “nightmare scenario” for Democrats. A Trump nominee could give SCOTUS conservatives a 6-3 majority.
“I just think the parties are so closely and evenly divided right now, that Republicans feel like they got to go forward with this and for Democrats they’re thinking we’ve got to do anything we can to stop it,” said Kennedy, “and it’s just sort of total war mentality that has encapsulated our politics for the last ten years.”
Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge and religious conservative, is said to be the president’s front runner. Barrett is known for her influential ruling on campus sexual assault and strong stances on abortion.
“I think right now, there are a lot of people that are concerned about Roe v. Wade, about that being brought back up,” said Kimberly Martin, assistant professor of political science at Georgia Southern University, “and that being something that was overturned by a 6-3 majority Supreme Court.”
Martin says it typically takes 70 to 90 days to confirm a Supreme Court justice — a process that will most certainly add discord to an already contentious political climate.
“Doing this within the next six weeks would be a big deal for Congress,” said Martin.
Trump says his nominee announcement will likely come this Friday or Saturday. If he chooses 48-year-old Coney Barrett, her confirmation would make her the youngest justice currently on the Supreme Court.