The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgWhat would Justice Ginsburg say? Her words now part of the fight over pronouns Supreme Court low on political standing To infinity and beyond: What will it take to create a diverse and representative judiciary? MORE is a tragedy for Americans already under siege by serious threats from President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE’s efforts to erode civil liberties and depart democratic norms. Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, it did.
The outpouring of grief over Justice Ginsburg's passing is matched only by rank GOP hypocrisy. Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation We don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble MORE (R-Ky.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp The Memo: Biden's immigration problems reach crescendo in Del Rio Matthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' MORE (R-Texas) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic MORE (R-S.C.), who blocked Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTop nuclear policy appointee removed from Pentagon post: report Prosecutors face legal challenges over obstruction charge in Capitol riot cases Biden makes early gains eroding Trump's environmental legacy MORE from filling a vacancy on the high court in the last year of his presidency, are now tripping all over themselves to give Trump a chance to fill a vacancy in the waning days of his term.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett may replace Ginsburg on the high court, but she will never replace the late justice’s commitment and contributions to equal rights.
McConnell apparently has the votes to install Trump’s pick on the Supreme Court. But any attempt to undo Ginsburg’s fight for equality will result in a political backlash that will cause endless political grief for Republicans during Barrett’s tenure. Americans in general, and women in particular, will likely not take kindly to right wing efforts to roll back social progress achieved since the 1960’s.
Democrats should use her confirmation battle to advance their fortunes in the presidential and U.S. Senate races to ultimately prevent Trump from having more opportunities to make dangerous appointments to the Supreme Court.
The Democrats need to make sure the Senate battle over the nomination is as much about the president as it is about his latest nominee. Sadly, Barrett is well on her way to lifetime tenure on the court, but Democrats need to guarantee that Trump’s term is limited to four years.
Barrett has a solidly conservative legal and judicial track record. Her membership in the Federalist Society and her association with a conservative religious group make her a grave obstacle to the progress Americans have made in the last generation in the fight for equal rights for women.
Anyone who believes the Supreme Court should be an engine of social and economic equality for women will be sadly disappointed by Barrett. The Federalist Society takes a dim view of using federal power to ensure equal protection for women. Ginsburg fought for economic and personal rights for women through the legal system. Barrett and her fellow conservatives on the court will likely attempt to halt or even reverse the gains in freedom and equality that Americans have achieved in the last generation.
The only good news that could come for Democrats and progressives from the replacement of a liberal icon with a hard core conservative jurist is that the reaction to the choice may be the last straw to break the president’s hope to return to the White House.
Republicans hope that appointment of a conservative activist will galvanize the president’s right wing base this year. The GOP base is already energized but the fight over Barrett’s nomination could be an essential element of the Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHaiti prime minister warns inequality will cause migration to continue Pelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Erdoğan says Turkey plans to buy another Russian defense system MORE’s effort to get potential progressive supporters out to vote.
Fear is a powerful motivating force in campaigns and the fear factor over ending Roe v. Wade and the Affordable Care Act might close the enthusiasm gap and drive Democratic voters to the polls. The battle to protect Ginsburg’s legacy could seal the deal between Biden and the progressives and boost Democratic turnout between now and Nov. 3.
A recent national survey conducted by NPR and PBS gave Biden a 10-point lead over Trump. But Trump supporters were much more likely to be committed to their choice than possible Biden voters. The contentious fight over Trump’s nominee could be just what the juris doctor ordered to attract soft Democrats to the polls.
Polling indicates that the gender gap in the presidential race is as wide as the Grand Canyon. A new poll for the Washington Post and ABC gives the former vice president a massive advantage with female voters.
The battle over Barrett’s is an opportunity for the Democratic standard bearer to cement and even expand his standing with women. This survey also shows that voters want the winner of the presidential election to nominate and a new Senate to confirm Ginsburg’s replacement.
The Democratic message during the confirmation battle should be that Trump’s choice of Barrett demonstrates his hostility towards women and that her elevation to fill the vacancy left by Ginsburg is a threat to the progress made in the fight for equal rights. Democrats should use the Senate battle to prove that Biden and Senate Democrats will fight the good fight to give women a stake in the great American march for equal rights.
Democrats might lose the battle for the Supreme Court but win the battle in the court of public opinion by electing a president and a Senate that will fight for equal rights and slow the conservative court’s effort to turn back the clock for American women.
Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Dateline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.