Annie Deitz, Campus Carrier managing editor
Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day, a holiday dedicated to ensuring people in the United States register to vote. With 2020 being an election year, and one of the wildest election years in recent history, voting is more important now than ever.
Last week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away at the age of 87. Her long and impressive legacy will remain enshrined in the history of the Supreme Court, as well as in the hearts and minds of Americans, for decades to come.
While the Court is supposed to be the non-partisan body of the federal government, in practice all Supreme Court justices have some partisan leaning. Currently, the Supreme Court leans slightly to the right of the political spectrum, with John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh regularly leaning conservatively in their rulings. Meanwhile Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Ginsburg leaned towards liberal rulings. With the passing of Ginsburg, there now exists a vacant seat.
Supreme Court seats are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Because of this, the political affiliations of the Supreme Court justices mainly match the presidential and senatorial administrations from their appointments. In this situation, if a justice is to be quickly confirmed, this would mean that the next Supreme Court justice would be a conservative one, nominated by President Donald Trump and confirmed by a vote in the senate led by Mitch McConnell. This would likely ensure that any nominee would be ultra conservative. As a result, the overall leaning of the Supreme Court would be more than slightly to the right.
I have a million and a half opinions on the Supreme Court, its partisan leaning and the future justice nomination process. However, I’m not going to talk about Merrick Garland or Roe v. Wade (although I could, and have, for hours). Instead I want to talk about the polarization and biased nature of the Court.
A short opinion piece is not long enough to explain all my opinions on the current status of the Supreme Court, but in general, I think it is too biased. The Supreme Court was created solely for the sake of interpreting the law, without any outside political bias. Human beings are biased by nature, and that can never be avoided. The impacts of ideology are impossible to avoid, even for Supreme Court justices. Because of this, we need to account for the inherent nature of human existence when assigned the role of a justice.
Rather than utilizing the Supreme Court as an extension of political power for the party in charge, in the Senate or the White House, the Supreme Court should be treated, across the board, as a neutral ground. Those in power should work to ensure a balanced representation on the Court, trying to create equal numbers of conservative and liberal justices when a seat is vacant.
This is not going to happen if Ginsberg’s seat is filled by Trump and McConnell. We need a change in leadership prior to that seat being filled. To do that, we need to vote this November. Regardless of whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, if you care about the sanctity of the U.S. legal system, Trump and McConnell need to be voted out of office, and voters need to make it clear that that is due to their handling of the vacant Supreme Court. The Court should stand as a bipartisan hallmark of democracy, and with so many Trump nominees filling in the ranks of justice, that cannot happen. So, vote, and not just against Trump, but against McConnell, and other republican senators tha help him retain his seat as Senate majority leader as well.