Will Donald Trump get his third Supreme Court nominee? I may be wrong, but I don’t think he will.

The death of Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg is a tragedy for the whole of liberal America. Aged 87 and having twice survived cancer, she succumbed to a third bout of cancer just weeks before the election of the President who constitutionally has the sole power and responsibility to nominate a successor.

Republicans want President Donald Trump to nominate a conservative candidate for the Court and the Republican-controlled Senate to approve that nominee in what is called the ‘lame duck’ period between Presidential and Congressional elections in November and the assumption into office of the successful candidates in January. Democrats want the decision to fall to the new President and the new Senate.

So what is going to happen?

I rarely make political predictions and, in the current political climate of the United States, any forecast is highly problematic. But I’m going to stick my neck out and forecast that Trump will nominate a replacement but fail to win a majority of votes in the lame duck Senate for his nominee. The current frontrunner for the vacancy is Amy Coney Barrett of Chicago, a federal appeals judge and the ideological opposite of Ginsburg.

If I am right about this and about the election results, Joe Biden will become President, nominate a young African-African woman, and the new Senate – which will then have a narrow Democratic majority – will endorse her.

How can I say this?

I think that Trump will make a nomination in the next few days and that the Senate will start confirmation proceedings in the next couple of weeks, but the confirmation process cannot be completed before the elections at the beginning of November.

Currently the Republicans have 53 seats in the Senate which would be enough to confirm Trump’s appointment. But already Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and fellow moderate Susan Collins of Maine have argued that the Senate should wait and could fail to back a Trump nomination. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Mitt Romney of Utah might also do the decent thing.

It is even possible that some Republican candidates for marginal Senate seats could be pressed on this issue in the election and feel compelled to commit to withholding support for the Trump nominee.

Another possible factor may be the Senate race in Arizona to fill the vacancy left by John McCain. Should the Democrat Mark Kelly defeat the Republican Martha McSally, who was appointed to the seat, some experts believe that he could be seated as early as the end of November, making the mathematics of the Supreme Court fight even more precarious.

Watch this space …



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