Court Battles

Progressive group to spend $10M in ad campaign on Supreme Court vacancy

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Demand Justice, a progressive outside group, is planning to spend $10 million on an ad campaign aimed at preventing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat from being filled until after the presidential inauguration in January. 

“No confirmation til after Inauguration Day,” Brian Fallon, the group’s executive director, tweeted on Friday night

The spending, confirmed to The Hill by a source familiar, is an early sign of what is likely to be a massive spending battle on both sides over the fate of the Supreme Court seat, in what was already an unprecedented election year. 

Democrats are already gearing up for a fierce fight to try to prevent Senate Republicans from filling the vacancy, arguing that it should be filled next year by whomever wins the White House in November.

“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a tweet

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced within hours of the news of Ginsburg’s passing that he will give whomever President Trump nominates a vote. 

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said in a statement.

Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate. That means Democrats and their allies would need to win over four Republican senators to prevent McConnell from filling the seat. 

Fix Our Senate, a Democratic outside group, also announced a six-figure ad buy encouraging voters to contact senators and urge them not to fill the seat. The ad includes clips of McConnell’s decision to refuse to give Merrick Garland, then-President Obama’s nominee in 2016, a hearing or a vote. 

Conservative groups didn’t immediately announce ad campaigns. But they are likely to pour in money in support of whomever Trump picks and to sway swing-vote Republicans and vulnerable Democratic senators, including Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.). 

Ginsburg’s seat is the first Supreme Court vacancy since 2018, when Republicans confirmed Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The Brennan Center estimates that nearly $10.37 million was spent in TV ads during Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle.  

John Kruzel contributed.

Tags 2020 election Brett Kavanaugh Brett Kavanaugh Chuck Schumer Donald Trump Donald Trump Supreme Court candidates doug jones Ginsburg death Merrick Garland Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell Outside spending Ruth Bader Ginsburg Ruth Bader Ginsburg Supreme Court vacancy

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