Supreme Court fight should drive Democrats and help Biden

Supreme Court fight should drive Democrats and help Biden

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgTrump promises to travel to Alaska to campaign against Murkowski Barrett authors first Supreme Court majority opinion against environmental group How to pass legislation in the Senate without eliminating the filibuster MORE is a tragedy for Americans already under siege by serious threats from President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Albany Times Union editorial board calls for Cuomo's resignation Advocates warn restrictive voting bills could end Georgia's record turnout 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 McConnellBiden takes victory lap after Senate passes coronavirus relief package GOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill Senate approves sweeping coronavirus measure in partisan vote MORE (R-Ky.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward Cruz Cruz puts hold on Biden's CIA nominee It will be Vice (or) President Harris against Gov. DeSantis in 2024 — bet on it Senate rejects Cruz effort to block stimulus checks for undocumented immigrants MORE (R-Texas) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSunday shows preview: Manchin makes the rounds after pivotal role in coronavirus relief debate Georgia DA investigating Trump taps racketeering expert for probe: report GOP votes in unison against COVID-19 relief bill MORE (R-S.C.), who blocked Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaWhy is Joe Biden dodging the public and the press? Here's who Biden is now considering for budget chief Pentagon issues report revealing ex-White House doctor 'belittled' subordinates, violated alcohol policies 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 BidenBiden to sign executive order aimed at increasing voting access Myanmar military conducts violent night raids Confidence in coronavirus vaccines has grown with majority now saying they want it 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.