I was thinking about the retirement of Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy and what effect it could have on America’s future. Even though Kennedy was a conservative he often acted as the swing vote in a Court of four liberals and four conservatives. If Trump appoints a conservative the Court would five-four conservative and America’s resent could revert to America’s past along with its future being very uncertain.
A five-four Court could put the hopes of continued social and economic equality on hold for a generation, or more. So, the question is, how can a minority of Democrats in the US Senate protect a balance on the Court. The only viable answer is for the Senate to find the courage to only confirm a moderate or centrist nominee.
The GOP controls the Senate with a 51 member majority. With John McCain on the sidelines it effectively is a 50-49 split. This means at least two Republicans would have to break party and vote with the Democrats. What’s the chance of such happening?
This morning I tried to find out how many Republican moderates are in today’s Senate. The answer is, not very many. There are not many GOP Senators willing to risk their political futures by going up against Trump and his nominee for the Court.
My hopes rest on wanting to believe there are at least two Republicans who see the potential damage and danger a 5-4 Court might bring. That there are at least two GOP Senators who don’t want their legacy written as supporting a nomination ending America’s attempt at building a more perfect union. One that stands for equity for all its citizens.
It is widely believed that Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski may be the knights in white armor. Alaska’s other Senator, Dan Sullivan, is a Republican and according to GovTrackUS he is closer to being moderate than far right. Another Senator on the list is Arizona’s Jeff Flake. Flake is retiring at the end of his term and has a history of talking back to Trump. Some list Lindsay Graham and Rand Paul as being moderates but I’ve never felt secure on how either of these guys will vote.
Another major question is, will the Democrats stand united against a Trump nomination? There are a few who are standing for reelection in November and may not be willing to challenge Trump in their conservative home states.
The future of the Supreme Court, and America, rest in the hands of a very few people and which side of history those few want their legacies tied to. The only one I have a degree of certainty with is Collins of Maine. I suppose that leaves me pretty pessimistic about the future of social and economic equality in America.