The Corner

Law & the Courts

What Will Trump Do?

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport in Minnesota, September 18, 2020. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As a matter of pure self-interested calculation, I would expect Donald Trump to try to get a new Supreme Court justice confirmed before the election. That will provide exactly the kind of galvanizing fight that he thrives on, and he has more to gain from giving Republicans something to fight for right now than he does from giving Democrats one more reason to want to beat him in November. Trump either wins reelection (less likely) or (more likely) sets himself up to go out in a blaze of glory — provided that Mitch McConnell can actually deliver the votes.

I can only imagine the conversations going on right now. After the Kavanaugh fiasco, there are many Republicans who would love to rub Democrats’ noses in it. And when Republicans say that the Kavanaugh fight was an open invitation from Democrats to fight dirty on Supreme Court nominations, they won’t be entirely wrong. What are the Democrats going to accuse the nominee of this time? Cannibalism? Inventing the coronavirus?

I find it hard to imagine Trump’s sitting on this one until after the election.

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