Trump’s Supreme Court nominee: The end of bipartisanship in America

President Trump’s selection of Judge Amy Barrett for his Supreme Court nominee will end bipartisanship in America. He should not pick a nominee this close to the election, but, at this time, her confirmation in the Senate before Nov. 3 appears inevitable. Judge Barrett’s confirmation will push both Democrats and Republicans to the extreme, forcing both sides into decisions that the other side will say is unforgivable. 

Her confirmation will lead to a repeated loop of hypocrisy, whereby each major political party will take extreme steps to disregard the minority while in power, and then lament the other party for doing the same when they are in the minority. The United States Senate — an institution the framers of the Constitution created in hopes that it would be independent-minded — will vote strictly on party lines, a practice that has become more common in recent years that will be cemented in place with this confirmation. The Supreme Court, the branch of government that is meant to be non-political, will become a collection of political operatives making decisions to please the parties that appointed them.

Calling this move the death of bipartisanship may sound extreme, but it is a point we have quickly been moving towards in recent history. Since 2000 we have seen less and less bipartisanship in Congress, with an increasing number of votes split between party lines. We have watched as Supreme Court nominees went from being sworn in with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans to the skirting of the longstanding rule by both major parties that judicial nominees need 60 votes to be confirmed in the Senate. Bipartisanship has been badly bent, even somewhat broken, but confirming Judge Barrett will result in a clear break the country will not recover from.

Judge Barrett’s confirmation represents a historical level of hypocrisy that has arguably never been seen before in American history. After Senate Republicans did not consider Obama’s nominee, claiming it was too close to the 2016 election that was more than 200 days away, those same Republicans are now going to confirm Trump’s nominee only weeks before the 2020 election. After claiming for over 200 days in 2016 that the American people should have a choice, they now refuse to wait 31 days for the American people to choose. As a result, more radical decisions are inevitable. If Democrats regain the Presidency and a Senate majority, it seems inevitable that they will pack the Supreme Court. Democrats will expand the Court to 13 members, appoint four liberal Justices, and attain a “liberal majority” in the Court. It is an idea that has already received the public support of many prominent Democrats. Once the Democrats pack the Court, it sets a precedent for Republicans to do the same when they regain power, and the cycle will continue from there.

Our elected officials should think about more than just this specific moment in time and consider the future implications of their actions. The United States Senate should not confirm President Trump’s nominee until we know the 2020 election results.