Why do Democrats vote in Trump's nominations
Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court : A judge to help out in the election campaign - and a nightmare for the Democrats
Is the battle over before it even really begins? At least that's what US President Donald Trump suggested when he announced his decision on Saturday evening (local time) as to who should take the place of Supreme Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died a week ago.
The confirmation of the conservative lawyer Amy Coney Barrett in the US Senate will be "very undisputed," said Trump in the direction of the Republican senators present. A little later he said: "I think it will be easier than you think."
Actually, observers assume that the hearings on Barrett's convictions, their attitudes on issues such as abortion, the health reforms introduced by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama ("Obamacare") or the separation of religion and law will lead to a bitter argument between the two political camps.
A vote will take place in 37 days, so the ability to compromise is not expected. On the contrary: Both sides speculate that the Richter personnel will mobilize their own base. For the Republicans, Barrett would be the sixth Conservative - and thus a nightmare for the Democrats, who could then only count on three liberal votes in the Supreme Court.
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Just minutes after Barrett's introduction, Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate who will play a crucial role as Senator in the confirmation process, tweeted: The decision for Ginsburg's successor makes it clear that the Republicans are destroying Obamacare and the fundamental ruling of 1973 on the extensive legalization of abortions ( "Roe v. Wade") wanted to tip. "That election would move the court to the right for generations and harm millions of Americans. So I am clearly against the nomination of Judge Barrett," Harris said.
The Democrats fear for Obamacare
The Democratic majority leader in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, also emphasized immediately after the solemn ceremony in the rose garden of the White House: Trump has been trying to destroy Obamacare for four years. This nomination threatens the "vital" health protection of 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
And yet: Since Trump can be sure that he has the necessary votes from the Republican Senators, it currently looks very much that Barrett will become the third woman in the circle of the nine chief judges. Trump's party has 53 out of 100 senators in this Congress Chamber.
Fifty-one of them have at least signaled their approval of moving ahead with the nomination process and voting before election day on November 3rd - although this contradicts Ginsburg's last wish that a newly elected president should make this all-important decision, not one in the last (election campaign -) weeks of his tenure.
The Democrats are also aware of the hopelessness of their resistance. At the same time, they can refer to the public opinion: The majority of the population does not like the time pressure for the succession of Ginsburg's seat. According to a recent poll by the Washington Post, almost six out of ten Americans (57 percent) are of the opinion that it is not the incumbent but the election winner who should nominate the successor on November 3rd.
Is the opposition boycotting the hearings?
The Democrats are now faced with the difficult decision of how negatively they will meet one of the "most brilliant legal experts in the USA" (Trump) at the hearings in order to do justice to the wishes and concerns of their supporters. In addition, as activists demand, they could even boycott the hearings.
Against this, on the one hand, speaks that this would deprive Kamala Harris of the opportunity to demonstrate her qualities as a former public prosecutor when questioning the candidate. Harris already made a name for himself at the hearing of Trump's second candidate judge, Brett Kavanaugh - she is expected to play a pivotal role in Barrett's hearing.
But also in general, a boycott of the hearings would deprive the Democrats of an additional opportunity to speak about the dangers of a second term in office for Trump - and thus arouse their supporters. The hearings promise to be a gigantic media event - attention that should not be overestimated in the final, crucial weeks of the election campaign.
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The incumbent's camp is also using the impending dispute to mobilize voters. Before an election rally on Saturday evening in Middletown (Pennsylvania), Trump fans were able to watch live on large video screens as their President presented Barrett - Trump then flew to them a short time later and was celebrated for it.
He had previously increased the tension day by day. In emails to supporters, potential donors were promised that they would be the first to find out about the staff. The White House asked for a countdown on Saturday: the last mail arrived at 4:39 p.m. (local time), 21 minutes before the big event. "In a few minutes," it said, "President Trump will announce his nomination for the 115th Supreme Court Justice of the United States." And on the eve of his solemn ceremony, at a rally in Newport News, Virginia, the President once again made it clear how important the topic is from his point of view.
The candidate is 48 years old
In front of an estimated 4,000 supporters gathered on an airfield, he praised the "incredible unity" within the Republican Party. The confirmation of his candidate would be a "great victory" before November 3rd, Trump said. “They say the biggest thing you can do is appoint judges, but especially Supreme Court judges , 50 years sets. "
This is exactly what the Democrats fear - especially since Amy Coney Barrett is only 48 years old. Supreme judges in the US are elected for life and are often asked to clarify questions of principle. In theory, it could shape the jurisdiction of your country for decades - and thus American society.
The law professor at the elite Catholic University of Notre Dame, who has worked as a federal judge at the Seventh Court of Appeals in Chicago, Illinois since 2017, is no stranger. She was already controversial at the Senate hearing for her current position. In the past few days, in which she was already considered a favorite alongside 52-year-old federal judge Barbara Lagoa, a lot has been reported about her - and debated.
Mainly for one reason: Barrett, who worked as a young lawyer for the late Conservative Chief Justice Anthony Scalia, is seen as an alternative to the liberal icon Ginsburg, who fought for equality all her life and was especially revered by young women.
Barrett would be the sixth Catholic on the Supreme Court
Barrett, like Scalia, stands for the school of thought of the "originalists" who literally interpret the American Constitution of 1787 in the sense of its authors - similar to religious fundamentalists who take the Bible literally. The 48-year-old also belongs to the "People of Praise", a charismatic renewal movement within the Catholic Church.
This worries many liberals, who fear that they will apply these traditional role models to the judiciary. If she were confirmed, she would already be the sixth Catholic in the Supreme Court. Ginsburg was of Jewish faith.
At her presentation on Saturday in the rose garden, Barrett presented herself as a modern woman and explicitly paid tribute to the achievements of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She thanked her husband Jesse, who cares about "more than his part" in their partnership. The lawyer, who worked as a public prosecutor for a long time and now as a lawyer, is also the better cook according to her seven children, she said.
In her own words, however, she sees less of a role model as the woman she is to inherit than her former mentor Scalia, who was friends with Ginsburg despite differing convictions. "His legal philosophy is mine too," Barrett said. "A judge has to apply the law as it is written. Judges are not political decision-makers."
Seven children, two adopted, one with Down syndrome
Many find it impressive that two of their children come from Haiti and were adopted by her and her husband; also that a son has Down syndrome. When she found out about Down syndrome during pregnancy, she decided to have the child anyway. Not only resolute anti-abortion opponents show her respect.
Liberals, on the other hand, fear that "Roe v. Wade" could tip over with her. But it doesn't have to happen that way, or rather: It is unclear how far-reaching Barrett's ambitions are on this issue. In 2016, she said she was assuming that abortions would remain "in principle" allowed in the future, but could be weakened by restrictions. She is concerned with the question of whether people can have abortions very late and whether clinics can be prescribed which interventions they carry out.
If "Roe v. Wade" no longer applies, that would mean that the individual states can regulate more themselves again, that is, the federal government is no longer responsible. Liberal Americans are alarmed.
The issue of abortion is mobilizing
The issue of abortion is a huge mobilization in the US - both sides. Although the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has so far not focused on this question in his warning about the candidate favored by Trump, but above all on the dangers for Obamacare: The Supreme Court is already dealing with the future of reform a week after the presidential election. But the concern that women's right to self-determination could be restricted worries many supporters of the Democrats.
Conversely, Republican voters are hoping for stricter rules. Many of them believe and spread the - false - assumption in right-wing media that the Democrats wanted to enable late abortions "until the day of birth".
In view of the fact that this is exactly what the President claims almost every day, this is hardly surprising. At his rally in Newport News on Friday night, he even said the Democrats wanted to kill babies "after they were born." He will prevent that. His supporters acknowledged this with loud approval.
With the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett, they hope a Conservative majority in the Supreme Court will act on their behalf for a long time to come. Trump, who has already been able to appoint two Supreme Court judges, is aware of these hopes - and holds out the prospect of being able to select further judges in a second term. From an election campaigner's point of view, Saturday was a good day for him. It is now up to the Democrats to show how the issue could benefit them.
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