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Analysis: The two most divisive events in US politics are about to take place at the same time

September 22, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

The Bench draped for the death of Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, September 2020. Credit: Photograph by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States.

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, Donald Trump has an opportunity to shape American life for decades to come.

He will almost certainly enshrine an unassailable 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, which means that political change launched by any future Democratic presidents and Congress could be undone by the Court's constitutional interpretations — no matter what the majority of the nation wants.

But a conservative Supreme Court could be a bulwark against political change -- one reason why conservatives have spent several generations working toward building this majority and why Democrats will long curse their failure to beat Trump in the 2016 election that opened the way to this extraordinarily important moment.

Two Republican senators so far have said they would oppose taking up a Supreme Court nomination before Election Day -- Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

"For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election.

The two most divisive, tumultuous events in American politics — a Supreme Court nomination battle and a presidential election — are about to take place at the same time.

Democrats are furious, rightly accusing Republicans of gross hypocrisy: In 2016, when conservative Justice Scalia died in February of that year —months before the election — Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell refused to even consider then-President Barack Obama's nominee, saying voters should ultimately decide who should get to fill the vacant seat.

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