When Justice Antonin Scalia tragically passed away, it opened up an opportunity for Barack Obama to reshape the Supreme Court.
If he could install a liberal justice on the bench, it would have tipped the balance to the left for a generation.
But Republicans held firm, and because Donald Trump won the election, Obama’s plan was soundly defeated.
After Justice Scalia’s tragic death, Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.
Republicans – who held the majority in the Senate – quickly announced they would not bring Garland’s nomination up for a vote because the next President should decide who fills Scalia’s seat.
Obama and the media denounced the GOP’s tactics.
Even some Republicans – like ardent #NeverTrump Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona – criticized the decision and advocated for confirming Garland in a lame duck session.
Republicans took the risk that not only would Trump win the election, but that they would also hold the majority in the Senate.
Had Democrats won the election, many pundits believe it would have been very likely that incoming Majority Leader Chuck Schumer would do away with the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees so Hillary Clinton could install a radical leftist on the Court.
But their gamble paid off, as Donald Trump not only won the election, but had coattails long enough to allow vulnerable Republican senators to win, thereby preserving the GOP majority.
Now Trump will appoint the ninth justice on a split Supreme Court.
During the primary, Trump submitted a list of 21 names he pledged to choose from should he win the election.
This was done to assure nervous conservatives he was committed to their cause.
The list was widely praised, and after his victory, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway announced President-elect Trump would stick to a name from the list.
“President-elect Donald Trump is “committed” to only nominating a Supreme Court justice from his previously disclosed list of potential additions to the high court, his campaign manager said Wednesday.
As the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Trump released a list of 11 potential nominees in May. He expanded his potential selection pool in September with 10 additional names.
“You’ve seen the list of 21. The list has not changed,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told reporters Wednesday. “President-elect Trump has committed to choosing his Supreme Court justices, particularly the vacancy created by the untimely death of Justice Scalia. He’s committed to choosing from that list of 21.”
In addition, the Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported there was momentum behind President-elect Trump picking Texas Senator – and Tea Party favorite – Ted Cruz as his nominee for the Supreme Court.
Sen. Cruz for SCOTUS? Sen. Graham says it’s a possibility. Calls Texan “young and in the mold of Scalia.”
Cruz was at Trump Tower today.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) November 15, 2016
Conservatives are hoping whomever President-elect Trump picks, that it will cement a right leaning majority on the Court.
After decades of being let down by Republican appointees, there is great pressure on President-elect Trump to deliver on his promise to appoint a Supreme Court Justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia.
If he can follow through on his pledge, landmark cases involving immigration, free speech, and religious liberty could deliver rulings that ingrain conservative principles in American jurisprudence for generations.