Justice Ginsburg’s Passing Ignites the October Timebomb

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AP featured image
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg waves goodbye to those who came to listen and participate in her “fireside chat” in the Bruce M. Selya Appellate Courtroom at the Roger William University Law School on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, in Bristol, R.I. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

BREAKING

I’ll be the first person to tell you that I liked Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I’ve always seen her it’s one of the most intelligent and insightful jurists to serve on the Supreme Court. She was Justice Antonin Scalia’s best friend for a reason. I have watched her grill attorneys into hamburger meat during oral arguments probing the meaning of the constitution in US law. She truly was the guiding light of the liberal side of the Supreme Court. As far as I’m concerned, the United States was lucky to have her for the time that it did. I personally mourn her passing.

But all things pass. The time of the grand dame of the Supreme Court has ended. And the acrimony that is American politics is about to overshadow her legacy.

If you have been watching the news, the fact that there was discussion circulating names of possible Supreme Court nominees was a harbinger of doom. Nothing ever happens by accident in Washington DC. The word was already spreading that Ginsburg’s remaining days with us were few.

On September 16, 2020, the Trump White House releases the names of twenty new potential nominees. That marked the beginning of what’s called the “trial balloon” process. That’s where researchers and focus groups begin to go to work vetting the names to see which one the President will ultimately nominate.

That list includes,

Daniel Cameron, Attorney General of the State of Kentucky

Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas,

Tom Cotton of Arkansas

Josh Hawley of Missouri

Bridget Bade, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals

Paul Clement, former U.S. solicitor general

Stuart Kyle Duncan, 5th Circuit judge

Stephen Engel, assistant attorney general

Noel Francesco, former solicitor general

James Ho, 5th Circuit judge

Gregory Katsas, D.C. Circuit judge

Barbara Lagoa, 11th Circuit judge

Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassdor to Mexico

Carlos Muniz, Florida Supreme Court

Martha Packold, Northern District of Illinois judge

Peter Phipps, 3rd Circuit judge

Sarah Pitlyk, Eastern District of Missouri judge

Allison Jones Rushing, 4th Circuit judge

Kate Todd, deputy assistant to the president

Lawrence Van Dyke, 9th Circuit judge

Let’s be clear about DC politics here. This is necessary process. The Biden campaign also assembled a list of names. Hoping that the “trial ballooning” period would not have to begin until after the elections, the Democrats held back their list from the public. You can bee sure there are reporters it’s been leaked to. That’s how the swamp works.

What happens next will be predictable. The die is cast. It is, in my opinion, impossible that the White House not to jump on the fleeting opportunity to nominate and confirm a one of those twenty candidates.

The chess pieces are in place. It has to be done between now and the election. It will require the full cooperation of the Senate Republicans. To fail to do so risks not being able to do so again for the remainder of their lifetimes.  It is that pivotal a moment in American history.

It will suck pretty much everything else about the November 2020 election into its vortex. It will be a full-blown political war on the Capitol Hill.

It will determine the outcome of the election. Whatever calculus you have had in your head about mail in voting, voter apathy, differing nuances in attracting, dissuading and influencing voter bases. Throw all that out the window. This just became a 4th down with 98 yards to go play for the contestants.

The Democrats will defend with everything they have. They have no choice. There was no one as insightful or as skilled in jurisprudence on the liberal side of the court as Ginsburg.  She was their light. Without her, they have lost one of the three branches of government.

My call? Both sides eligible. The whistle is blown. The clock is counting.

Expect the pundits to start screaming immediately.

***

As for me, goodbye sweet lady.  I shall miss your wit.  My deepest condolences to your family in their time of loss.

Dennis Santiago

Dennis Santiago is an author and commentator on national policy and global stability issues. His subject matter expertise was developed during the Cold War as strategic warfare systems analyst, missile defense architect and arms control analyst. He is the author of the US Imperfect Defense Theory of Strategic Missile Defense. Dennis has worked on conventional warfare, nuclear warfare, and asymmetric warfare. His areas of expertise include combat aircraft, ordnance, electronic warfare, command and control, campaign design and game theory.

Member, Foreign Press Association (FPA) and Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA)

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