Topics: College of Sciences and Humanities, Research, Faculty

September 22, 2020

Chad Kinsella

Chad Kinsella, assistant professor of political science

Any time a Supreme Court Justice has to be replaced “is going to be high-stakes political drama,” said Chad Kinsella, a Ball State political science professor.

“However, there is more controversy over this pick, because we are few weeks away from an election that will likely feature a close presidential contest and several Senate races that are increasingly looking favorable for Democrats.

“Also, conservatives have had a 5-4 majority for several decades and with Ginsburg passing away, it gives President Trump the opportunity to tilt the court even further to the right and guaranteeing a conservative majority for a long time to come.”

Democrats are urging the Republican-controlled Senate to wait until after the election to vote on a nominee, but President Trump plans to name a replacement on Friday or Saturday.

This is made even more controversial because of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell McConnell’s refusal to allow a vote to President Obama’s court pick before the 2016 election, Kinsella said.

“Ultimately, Republicans realize that this may be their only chance to get their court pick and must act now as opposed to waiting for the 2020 election results. However, two Senate Republicans have already said they will not vote until after the election, making an already narrow vote that much closer, since 51 votes will be needed to secure the nominee.”

Kinsella believes that this battle could potentially play a critical role in the upcoming 2020 election in several ways.

“President Trump could use this as a way to play to his base by showing what he has accomplished and also possibly overshadowing his unpopular response to COVID-19.”

At the same time, a quickly selected nominee “could anger Democrats and provide a fresh motivation to bring out the vote in 2020. Who Trump selects could also play a major role in the upcoming election.”

Ginsburg, who served as an associate justice of the Supreme Court from 1993 until her death on Sept. 20, will lie in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday. She will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband of 56 years, Marty Ginsburg, who died in 2010.