OPINION: Trump does not have the precedent to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice

Mackenzie Longfellow, Reporter

On September 18, former Justice of the Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. All of America mourned her passing, but talks of a new Supreme Court justice were already up for discussion. Just over a week later, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barret to be RBG’s replacement. Many politicians and Americans have spoken up against this, saying that Congress should wait till after the election in November to elect a new justice. At the end of President Obama’s term, Merrick Garland’s appointment was shelved to let the new president nominate the justice, so why is it that now they are pushing for Barrett to be appointed? With all this in mind, the government should wait until after the new, or former, president is inaugurated, to decide on who the new justice should be. 

Currently, Americans are anticipating an election for the next president. Years in the past, positions on the Supreme Court have opened up during an election year. Many nominations for a justice have been declined by the Senate during this time. One reason for this would be an unwritten rule that they may invoke, called the “Thurmond Rule.” This comes from the time when Senator Strom Thurmond blocked President Lyndon B. Johnson’s nominee for chief justice. The rule holds that a judicial nominee should not be appointed during an election year. The Thurmond Rule is not an actual written rule but has been used by Senators in the past to block presidential nominations. This occurred during the 2012 election year, when Senator Mitch McConnell used the rule to block President Obama’s nomination to replace Antonin Scalia, Merrick Garland. Even though McConnell used the Thurmond Rule to block previous nominations, it is said that he is hoping to speed up Barret’s appointment into the Court. Many other members of the Senate have done the same thing where they were against a nomination for the Court during an election year, but are in favor of it now. This is thought to be because the Republican party has control of Congress and the executive branch. 

All of the hypocrisy aside, Congress should still postpone the appointment of a new justice because they should wait to see who Americans decide on for president. If a new president is elected, then that president should nominate a new justice because that would be what the American people want. It would be a better representation of American’s thoughts for the government.