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What you need to know about the United States Supreme Court scramble

FILE - In this June 27, 2012 file photo, an American flag flies in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. DNA may be the building blocks of life, but can something taken from it be the building blocks of a multimillion-dollar medical monopoly? The Supreme Court will grapple with that question Monday, April 15, 2013, as it delves into an issue that could reshape medical research in the United States, in the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian cancer, and the billion-dollar medical and biotechnology business: Can human genes be patented? The court's decision could have a wide-ranging effect. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

FILE - In this June 27, 2012 file photo, an American flag flies in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. DNA may be the building blocks of life, but can something taken from it be the building blocks of a multimillion-dollar medical monopoly? The Supreme Court will grapple with that question Monday, April 15, 2013, as it delves into an issue that could reshape medical research in the United States, in the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian cancer, and the billion-dollar medical and biotechnology business: Can human genes be patented? The court's decision could have a wide-ranging effect. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)   | Photo Credit: Alex Brandon

The U.S. President will name the next Justice of the Supreme Court

The moment Donald Trump unveils his Supreme Court nominee, the apex body of American judiciary will turn in a direction it will travel in for years to come - and that moment is all but here.

“Big decision will soon be made on our next Justice of the Supreme Court!,” tweeted an unmistakably eager Trump earlier in the week, clearly basking in the gravity of the occassion. “An exceptional person will be chosen!”

The decision is set to be revealed at 9 P.M. EDT on July 9.

Why the left is forcing a commotion?

Progressive bodies that have been on Washington’s streets to try and sway the decision signal a mounting unease among Democrats. With loaded topics such as gay rights hanging in the balance, it is no wonder the situation has managed to send liberals into fits of fury and conservatives into glad anticipation.

One other such topic is abortion: a fiercely disputed issue that has rendered partisan lines in America indelible. Forty-five years ago, the Roe vs. Wade case ended in a ruling of abortion as a constitutional right. However, with the introduction of a new right-wing Justice to cement a 5-4 Republican majority in the court, this ruling could very easily be overturned. This would be disastrous for the Democrats, who have long aligned the identity of their party with advocacy for the rights of women in all domains.

However, Republicans still have some distance to go to convert this conjecture to reality. They still face complications in getting their candidate formally appointed.

Conservatives aren’t home free yet

Though Trump’s first Justice nominee, Neil Gorsuch, managed a smooth approval process in the Senate in 2017, the Senate is more hotly contested this time around. Who the President's nomination will be is largely extraneous to the process they must go through to be appointed, and it’s certain that Republicans will be fighting a slimmer margin of error this time.

For example, Doug Jones, a liberal senator from the very red state of Alabama, has replaced conservative Luther Strange, and has professed his willingness to deny the President’s nomination. The participation of Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona is increasingly unlikely given his ongoing health complications. Accounting for these differences, the Republican majority in the Senate shrinks to 50-49.

How Republicans are minimising chances of defeat

To mitigate the real possibility of a Democratic upset, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been adamant that the confirmation vote should happen during the coming fall, before the November midterms. Democratic hopefuls have urged McConnell to hold the vote after November -- as he did in 2016 when Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat fell vacant -- arguing that the Senate could look different by that point. However, McConnell quickly shut down the proposals, maintaining that the sole reason he forced the Senate to wait in 2016 was because it was a presidential election year.

What the Democrats can now hope for is that the more moderate, swing Republican Senators, namely Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins of Alaska and Maine respectively, find error with the the possibly far-right nomination made by Trump, who said during his 2016 campaign that he would “put pro-life justices on the court.”

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2020 6:18:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-united-states-supreme-court-scramble/article24372930.ece

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