Home Christian News The Stakes of the U.S. Election Are Even Higher Now

The Stakes of the U.S. Election Are Even Higher Now

Democrats are, indeed, using those words against Graham, accusing Republicans of backpedaling and hypocrisy. But Republicans, including McConnell, say the circumstances are different; currently, both the president and Senate are in Republican hands, whereas in 2016 the president was a Democrat and the Senate was held by Republicans.

Other Republicans, including Graham, say their revised stance is based on the Democrats eliminating the 60-vote threshold for some judicial nominees (in 2013) and subjecting Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh to intense personal scrutiny (in 2018).

Republican Senators Under the Microscope 

For Trump’s next nominee to be confirmed, only three Republican Senators can defect. Two, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, already have expressed opposition to taking up a Supreme Court appointment this close to an election.

Republican Senators whose positions are now being closely watched include Mitt Romney (Utah), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), and Cory Gardner (Colorado). Grassley was the Senate Judiciary Committee chair in 2016, when Republicans refused to vote on Garland’s nomination. Back then, Grassley said Americans “shouldn’t be denied a voice” in the process.

Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican who was thought to be on the fence, now defends McConnell. “No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican president’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year,” he says. “The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it.”

Female Front-Runners to Fill SCOTUS Vacancy

Because of Ginsburg’s failing health, Trump aides had been working to narrow a list of possible replacements, knowing that swift action could be required this fall. Three women reportedly atop Trump’s list include Amy Coney Barrett, Barbara Lagoa, and Allison Jones Rushing.

Coney Barrett, who’s currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, clerked for Scalia and taught law at Notre Dame University. She’s affiliated with the Charismatic Renewal movement within Catholicism, which has led to questions of whether a religious “litmus test” is being applied to her. Though Coney Barrett is pro-life, she has said it’s “very unlikely at this point” that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. The 48-year-old judge, who’s from Indiana, has seven children, including two who are adopted and one biological son with Down syndrome.

Lagoa, 53, currently serves in the 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals. She’s from the battleground state of Florida and is Hispanic, a base of voters Trump has been courting. Like Coney Barrett, Lagoa is Catholic, but some conservative groups say Lagoa doesn’t have a sufficient track record on abortion rulings.

Jones Rushing, now on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, is a favorite of evangelical groups. The North Carolinian did a legal internship with Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian nonprofit, and clerked for Gorsuch. Jones Rushing is only 38, leading some experts to say she may be considered too inexperienced.