Election Series Part 3: Who Will Reign Supreme?

October 12, 2018

This week, we continue our conversation about the elections and their connection with the US Supreme Court.

If you haven’t heard already, Brett Kavanaugh, a Washington DC Circuit judge and President Trump’s nominee for the US Supreme Court, was confirmed by the Senate to take the seat of retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy late last week. Mr. Kavanaugh will now serve on the highest court in the country and remain in that position until he decides to retire. (Remember how the job of Supreme Court Justice is for life?)

Credit: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., administers the Constitutional Oath to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in the Justices’ Conference Room, Supreme Court Building. Mrs. Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible.
Credit: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Kavanaugh’s nomination and confirmation became an extremely contentious fight between Democrats and Republicans. One of the biggest reasons? An accusation. A woman named Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Mr. Kavanaugh of forcing himself on her at a house party when they were teenagers. Democrats felt that Mr. Kavanaugh’s unacceptable behavior, his response to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony, and his decisions on previous cases made him unfit to be a US Supreme Court Justice. President Trump and Republicans, on the other hand, believed that Dr. Ford was lying and had accused the wrong person of what happened to her many years ago, smearing Mr. Kavanaugh’s name in the process.

But why did Republicans (the Senate majority) want to confirm Mr. Kavanaugh so badly that they would have pushed through his confirmation even if Democrats weren’t on board? By getting Mr. Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court, decisions by the court would most likely lean more conservative. How? Again, it’s a numbers game. Before Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, there were eight Supreme Court Justices—four that are widely known to be more conservative and four that are known to be more liberal. With Mr. Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the Supreme Court now leans more conservative. These nine judges have the power to shape the country for many years to come, no matter who the next president is. So is it important to win the majority in the Senate? The answer is yes, because the Senate has the power to confirm judges that are nominated by the president! A very important job and one that experts predict will happen within the next six years as other justices retire. So are the midterm elections important? That would be a resounding YES!

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