The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg over the weekend may have added superheated fuel to what was already a fiery inferno of a Presidential campaign, but it was no surprise. Donald Trump’s announcement of an additional list of prospective nominees for the Supreme Court nine days before Ginsburg’s demise was inspired because the he knew that the elderly judge was on her last legs. The list is important because it reflects President Trump’s genuine intent on the kind of judge he wants to nominate to the Supreme Court.
Donald Trump is quite clear–he is going to nominate a woman. Now it is possible that a new name might surface in the coming week that was not on the lists he has released over the last four years, but he has assembled a formidable group of lady jurists. Here they are in the chronological order (i.e., Trump’s 9 September 2020 announcement marked the fourth time since he started running for President in 2015 that he announced a list of prospective selectees). The two getting the most attention are Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa.
My money is on Judge Barbara Lagoa, who is the only latina on the list and hails from Florida, where the latino vote is capable of tipping the scales in the favor of Donald Trump over Joe Biden.
Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Allison Eid of Colorado, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Joan Larsen of Michigan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Margaret Ryan of Virginia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Diane Sykes of Wisconsin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Bridget Bade (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit)
Barbara Lagoa (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit)
Trump nominated Lagoa for the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last September, and she was confirmed by an unusually lopsided 80-15 Senate vote in November. Most of Trump’s nominees win confirmation narrowly. Lagoa’s status as one of the few female Latina judges made her a tough choice to oppose.
Martha Pacold (U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois)
Sarah Pitlyk (U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri)
Allison Jones Rushing (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit)
Kate Todd (deputy White House counsel)
Trump’s upcoming announcement of the new Supreme Court Justice is going to unleash a fascinating dynamic. The Democrats will follow their playbook of demonizing the choice as a souless whore spawned by Satanic demons. The female nominee could have spent her entire life caring for the disabled and she will still be vilified as evil and incompetent.
I don’t think that dog will hunt now. The vile hatred and vitriol the Senate Democrats spewed at a white guy like Judge Kavanaugh will have little resonance against someone like Barbara Lagoa, a woman and a Cuban American. This will put the Democrats in an uncomfortable position. While they insist that Trump is the anti-woman President and a serial sex predator, it will be Donald Trump who is extolling the virtues and character of an accomplished woman. It is very likely that the Democrats will grossly overplay their hand and evoke among the public at large the same question raised during the Army McCarthy Hearings of the fifties—Senator, have you no sense of decency?
The fact that 85 Senators voted for Judge Lagoa’s current judicial appointment provides another political club that Trump can and will use to bludgeon Senators who try to walk back their previous endorsement. You can bet that Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski endorsed her and will find it difficult to avoid taking a stand on behalf of the female nominee.
This is not going to be a static affair. According to some commentary on the Sunday talks shows, the real reason to get a liberal judge has nothing to do with Roe v Wade and everything to do with Obamacare. If true, this gives Donald Trump another opening that will put the Democrats on their heels if he comes out with his detailed plan for replacing Obamacare. I am certain of one thing–do not trust the conventional wisdom. Donald Trump is not conventional.