Ginsburg and the coming political crisis

If Trump and Republicans replace Ginsburg it will destroy the remaining public legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Full stop.

The Republican party’s willingness to invent, bend, cherry-pick, or break rules and norms as needed in the pursuit of power would be undeniable. Already Republican activists have begun creating ludicrous, tortured rationales: Since 1880, no Senate with more than three left-handed members has failed to vote on the nominee of a president whose name contains the letter “d.” To anyone with ears to hear and eyes to see, these justifications are an affront to common sense and basic fairness.

If Republicans choose this route, their ruthlessness would have resulted in not one, but two SCOTUS seats that will be widely regarded as stolen. And worse: stolen by a president who was himself elected despite a decisive loss in the popular vote.

Imagine what would happen if Ginsburg were replaced before November, and then Joe Biden wins the presidency and Democrats capture the Senate. There would be enormous pressure to somehow reform the Supreme Court. And it is not clear what principled counterargument might be mounted against such ideas, even if the “reform” proposals amount to enlarging and packing the Court.