Hours after the announcement of the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, KGVO asked Rob Natelson, former UM law professor and current Constitutional Fellow at the Independence Institute, if President Trump should wait to nominate a new justice until after the general election.

Natelson honored Ginsburg for her role in elevating women in the law profession.

“She was not someone whose judicial philosophy I share,” said Natelson. “But she was a woman who was very brave, and very good. She did serve as a role model for women in the legal profession rising to the very pinnacle of her profession before many women were even able to enter it. And in cases that were not politically charged, she was a very good judge. By all accounts, it's only in the area where cases were politically charged that people tend to divide about her, but America lost a great person today.”

Natelson said that nonetheless, the President is obligated to do his job, no matter the timing.

“I think he has to make a nomination,” he said.  “I say that really for two reasons. One reason is that when President Trump was elected in 2016, he was elected to serve until January of 2021. He wasn't elected to stop exercising the duties of his office in September of 2020, and so I think he has a constitutional obligation to make a nomination. There's also a political dimension to this. In this election, like many elections, perhaps most it is going to come down to who gets his base out. In other words, which candidate can motive motivate their base voters to actually go to the polls. If President Trump were to not appoint someone to simply say, ‘well, you know, we'll wait to the elections over’, I think that would have a discouraging effect on his base without in any way mollifying those people who are opposed to him.”

Natelson was asked if there would be less contention, as occurred in the Kavanaugh nomination, if he were to choose a woman or a person of color to fill the seat. He said it would have the opposite effect.

“I don't think it would make any difference,” he said. “One of the characteristics of the left and of President Trump's enemies in particular, is that if anything, they have more contempt for conservative women and conservative minorities than let's say, for conservative white males. So if he would nominate a woman or let's say, a Hispanic or an African American, that person would be subject to a firestorm of abuse in the current atmosphere. I don't think there's really any nomination he could make that would not be contentious.”

A story in USA today states that President Trump and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell will begin the process of nominating a new justice, and McConnell promised a Senate vote on the nominee, although no specific timing was discussed.

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