Trump WH urged to move quickly on SCOTUS vacancy

Monday, September 21, 2020
Chris Woodward, Chad Groening (

Supreme Court sunriseA conservative activist argues that despite the rapidly escalating debate over whether to appoint a Supreme Court justice just prior to a presidential election, President Donald Trump has the constitutional obligation to do just that – and he should.

The death of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday evening has propelled the issue of Supreme Court appointments to the top of the list for voters. Advocates on both sides of the abortion issue believe that if Trump is able to install his nominee in that seat, there's a better chance than ever that Roe v. Wade – the 1973 decision that established a nationwide right to abortion – could be overturned or gutted.

Gary Bauer, president of American Values, says the American political left has every right to be "very, very upset."


"Because [Ginsburg] has been a stalwart vote on the high court for abortion on demand and for limits on the Second Amendment right to bear arms and also for limits on religious liberty," he explains. "So [the left] had a reliable vote. She's been on the court for decades – and the president now has an opportunity to take the court in a more conservative direction."

Bauer points out that Trump has already "done an extraordinary thing in transparency" by putting out two lists of potential judicial appointments.

"… All those people have been vetted already by various conservative groups as well as by the White House legal team," he contends. "Any court vacancy in a deeply divided country will be heatedly debated in the Senate in a deeply divided Senate."

Now, about those lists …

President Trump says he will announce a nominee by Saturday – and that his list of nominees to replace Ginsburg is down to five. Speaking Monday on Fox & Friends, Trump said one name on his list is 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Barbara Lagoa:

Trump: "She's excellent. She's Hispanic. She's a terrific woman from everything I know. I don't know her. She's from Florida. We love Florida. So, she has a lot of things. She's very smart. They're all very smart. We don't have to say that. There are actually five I'm looking at. It's down to five."

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is also said to be on the short list and is said to the front-runner for the empty seat on the bench. She is a judge on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and was considered for the Supreme Court seat that went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh.


Phillip Jauregui of Judicial Action Group would prefer to see Barrett nominated over Lagoa.

"There's just no comparison [between the two] in terms of records," he begins. "The other thing that's concerning is Lagoa was confirmed just ten months ago in this hyper-partisan environment – and she had a majority of Democrats supporting her confirmation."

It's "a concern," he says, that Lagoa was confirmed 80-15 in the Senate with 27 Democrats in favor, including Senators Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy.

"[In contrast], somebody like Barrett was only confirmed with 55 votes," he continues. "There were three moderate Democrats who voted for her. They were up for re-election, so you can understand what was happening at that moment. So that's a concern. It's a yellow flag, if not a red flag, that a majority of liberal Democrats supported Lagoa ten months ago."

In terms of whether Trump should name a replace soon or wait until after the election, as Democrats and even some Republicans have called for, Jauregui says the president should not wait to make a nomination.

"Having eight justices is difficult, it's a problem, and especially with the cases we have coming up, probably maybe even major election cases that may make Bush v. Gore look like child's play," he tells OneNewsNow, adding that it's "essential" to fill the vacant seat immediately.

"If you have a four-to-four split at the Supreme Court, it means there is no decision and the lower court opinions are the ones that end up holding. The problem with that is you have 11 different [federal] circuit courts," Jauregui concludes. "So, you could literally have a situation where there is a complete lock with one circuit [court] saying 'Biden is the president' and another circuit saying 'Trump is the president' and the Supreme Court is deadlocked four-to-four and you can't break the tie. It would be chaos."

Judicial Action Group has published Trump's lists of prospective U.S. Supreme Court nominees.

Related column: 4 reasons why Trump, Republicans should act quickly


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