Brian Fallon, the executive director of liberal advocacy group Demand Justice, tweeted any Trump appointee confirmed “at this point in the calendar would be fundamentally illegitimate, and Democrats must be prepared to act accordingly.”
If that third confirmation happens, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ed Markey tweeted, “when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court.”
Senate Democrats would need at least four Republicans to vote against Trump’s third appointee to thwart the confirmation. Short of that, Trump’s pick would likely add a solidly conservative vote on policy issues such as abortion, gun control laws, immigration, LGBT rights and voting rights.
Last term, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. established himself as the center of the court, but that now could be in jeopardy. He has talked about his overriding concern to use his perch as chief justice to maintain the legitimacy of the court as nonpartisan — and his actions last term navigated the Supreme Court into calmer waters.
Roberts joined the four justices on the liberal wing in surprising ways, to strike down a Louisiana law that would restrict abortion access and turn aside Trump’s effort to rescind an Obama-era immigration policy that allowed those who arrived in the country illegally as children to work and avoid deportation.