President Donald Trump, trailing in public polling and lagging in fundraising, wants a new Supreme Court justice confirmed before the election to be able to break potential ties on the court over election litigation.
“In terms of time, we can go to January 20th, but I think it’s better if you go before the election because I think this scam that the Democrats are pulling — it’s a scam — the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court. And I think having a four-four situation is not a good situation, if you get that,” Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday of the eight-person Supreme Court that exists following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
What the president calls a “scam” in this context is the increased use of entirely legal and secure mail-in ballots in states across the country, a bipartisan move taken by state and local governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and backed by both Republican and Democratic officials in those jurisdictions.
“I don’t know that you’d get that. I think it should be eight-nothing or nine-nothing,” Trump said of a potential Supreme Court election case. “But just in case it would be more political than it should be, I think it’s very important to have a ninth justice.”
Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., of course did not share that view about there being a need for a ninth justice to be seated before voters went to the polls for the 2016 presidential election, holding open the seat vacated in February 2016 when Justice Antonin Scalia died.