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Analysis: Supreme Court fight adds stunning new twist to a crisis election

September 21, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The United States is barreling into the ultimate political stress test, with the most divisive partisan collisions -- a Supreme Court battle and a presidential election -- occurring in the middle of an again-worsening pandemic that is about to claim its 200,000th American life.

President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans spent the weekend rolling out an aggressive power play to try to solidify an unassailable and generational majority on the nation's top bench possibly even before an election that is only 43 days away.

Her passing also unleashed an even more divisive than normal battle for a replacement since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pressing ahead to confirm a pick Trump may make within days despite refusing to move on then-President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, many months before the 2016 election.

Back then, McConnell said voters should decide the destiny of the court in choosing a new President.

Two Republicans, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Susan Collins, who is locked in a tight reelection fight in Maine, have already said that they oppose taking up Trump's nomination before the election, leaving McConnell almost no margin for error if he is to fulfill Trump's wish for a vote before the election.

The President pivoted forcefully to the new Supreme Court battle after a week when he became increasingly desperate to deflect from the pandemic, which included misleading and often false accounts, for example, of the speed with which Americans can expect to see a vaccine needed to end the disaster.

"Today, we sit here 44 days out from election, so it's certainly possible," he said, referring to the chances of getting a new justice on the bench by November 3. "But I think that the President's obligation is to make the nomination.

If the Republicans cannot ram through a vote before the election, it could lead to a massive political conflagration should Democrats win the presidency and take back the Senate, then have to watch as a new justice is confirmed in a lame duck session by McConnell.

Former President Bill Clinton said on CNN's "State of the Union" that for "Senator McConnell and President Trump, their first value is power.

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