Supreme Court: Would Trump pick inevitably mean a sharp right turn?

Henry Gass in The Christian Science Monitor:

With a presidential election less than five weeks away, and a new term at the U.S. Supreme Court just over a week away, President Donald Trump says he will, in a matter of days, announce his third nominee to the high court. The funeral for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose seat he would be filling after she died last week, is not scheduled until next week, but President Trump and other Republican Party leaders have made clear their intent to return the court to its full complement of nine justices as soon as possible. The announcement is certain to provoke a fierce and partisan confirmation battle in the U.S. Senate. But if the nomination is successful, it could transform the high court in a way perhaps not seen in close to a century, securing a two-thirds majority of conservative jurists that could advance conservative causes like regulating abortion, expanding gun rights, and reining in federal regulations at a speed and scope of its choosing.

To date, President Trump’s two other appointments – Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – have replaced other members of the court’s right wing. But replacing Justice Ginsburg, for decades a liberal stalwart of the court, would represent a much starker rightward turn. It would likely see influence shift between the justices – namely away from Chief Justice John Roberts, who would cease to be the court’s ideological center. The conservative justices do not see eye to eye on every issue, a dynamic that could moderate decisions they reach in some areas of the law. But for the most part, it could be this reinforced conservative majority that would be shaping U.S. law for the next 15 or 20 years. The only questions would be how radically, and how quickly, the court moves.

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