Our Take: Senate Confirms SCOTUS Justice

Reporters share their thoughts on a SCOTUS appointment during the 2020 election


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The U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

Carley Parrish, Student Life and Features Editor

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are all responses from Forest Fire reporters. We encourage you to also read the views of 12 students selected from among the 87 interviewed by our staff in the companion article: https://bit.ly/2G5mH4T

With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Guinsburg Sept. 18, the Trump administration has rushed to present his nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, to the Senate before the election. 

Whether or not the Senate should confirm a SCOTUS appointee this close to an election, after citizens have cast ballots,  contributes to another division among U.S. citizens and, specifically, staffers of the Forest Fire. 

Due to the Republican party’s selection and confirmation of a nominee before the election, some students feel senators are disregarding greater needs. 

Sophomore Siena McGarrigle, social media editor, thinks that President Trump shouldn’t fill the seat because it should require more time and consideration.

“The fact that the Republican Party is trying to fill the vacancy as quickly as possible shows that they care more about pushing their political/personal agendas than the well-being of our country,” McGarrigle said.

Sophomore Katie Hottell agrees, believing that this judge’s influence will hold greater impact towards the future of our country and should require more thought.

“The consequences will probably outlive both Trump and Biden,” Hottell said. “I think that such a large decision that will be in place for an incredibly long amount of time should be made by the next president of the United States, not one that has hardly any time left in office.”

However, senior Connor Kitson, sports editor, among other staffers, believe that Trump should move forward with nominations as a strategy to aid his party and strengthen his following.

I think that if Trump is able to fill the seat, it would help his campaign,” Kitson said.

Many staffers, including senior Jessica Klarman, video editor, think that if Trump’s nominee is approved by the Senate, the appointment would be hypocritical to previous precedent..

“I think it is quite interesting how Mitch Mcconnell said that they must block Obama’s nomination for a Supreme Court member because he had eight months left of his presidency until the next election,” Klarman said. “Yet Mcconnell says it is imperative that Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is appointed immediately even though the election is in 43 days.”

Alternatively, senior Meghan Keith, online editor, believes that the appointment of a new judge should happen simply because it is exactly what the Constitution states.

“I think, per the Constitution, Donald Trump should be allowed to nominate someone to fill SCOTUS,” Keith said.

Junior Femi Olugbamila doesn’t think Trump will select someone best suited for the position.

“I don’t think he should nominate anyone because, in my eyes, I see him nominating someone not fit for the job. I just don’t think they’d be the right candidate,” Olugbamila said.

Others worry that Barrett, a conservative judge, in  replacement of a liberal justice will cause a large swing of unbalance.

Senior Sydney Savage, assistant editor, believes the seat shouldn’t be filled because the stability of the court would become conservative heavy.

“There are five conservative judges already, which gives them the advantage in the Supreme Court. Making it six would weaken the liberal perspective even more,” Savage said.

On the other hand, a few staffers, including sophomore Will Wrenn, believe that it is completely fair for Trump to present a nominee and have it approved because Republicans hold the Senate. 

“They have every right to appoint a new one,” Wrenn said. “If the Democrats had the Senate right now, and Trump tried to appoint one, they would block it, and it’d be the same as 2016, so I see no problem.”

Opposingly, sophomore Cameron Weaver thinks that Ruth Bader Guinsburg should be replaced with what was lost, a liberal perspective, despite the political party holding the Senate.

“She stood for everything he was against,” Weaver said.

Congruent to Weaver’s point, senior Catherine Vivongsy believes that the dying wishes of Ruth Bader Guinsburg should be honored, and that her seat is filled after the election.

Vivongsy said, “I do not think President Trump should nominate someone, especially when she wished for her seat to not be filled until the next president.”