On February 12th, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away and left a seat open on the Supreme Court. President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to take his place. The Senate Republicans refused to confirm Garland. Senators argued the next President should nominate the open seat because they hoped for a republican president. The Senate majority received their wish, and Donald Trump will nominate the next Supreme Court justice. The question is why do we care? Why do we care what old judge gets nominated? Specifically, with regards to National Security policy, any laws or executive orders passed by the President such as building a Wall with Mexico, deporting mass amounts of illegal immigrants, ceasing Refugee resettlement, and limiting American values through limiting minority rights may one day be appealed to the Supreme Court, and enacting these laws will depend on how the Supreme Court rules. The listed below explains the role of the Supreme Court idea and how it will may play out in the next election.
1. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land
|Justice Scalia is accounted for in this picture|
The Supreme Court stands as the highest court in the U.S., in other words, the buck stops there. Any legal case or law, including ones with National Security implications, can be appealed up to the Supreme Court. From there, the Supreme Court decides which cases they will take. This means the Supreme Court will set the agenda for which court rulings will come to them and more importantly the ones that will not, such as Trump's idea of building a Wall, which will create diplomatic and trade issues with Mexico.2. The Supreme Court is a check to the Presidency’s power
The founding fathers created the Supreme Court as a balance to the presidency’s power. The Supreme Court wields the power to rule any executive or legislative laws as unconstitutional. For example, the justices blocked President Obama’s executive order to regulate coal-power plants’ emissions. This means the court sits as a final indestructible roadblock to many of Trumps ideas that are on the precipice of unconstitutional.3. Their rulings impact our lives
The cases the court hears are usually of the upmost importance pertaining to critical constitutional matters such as inter-racial marriage and abortion laws. For example, by a 5-4 ruling in favor of same sex-marriage and against California’s state band on gay marriage, the Supreme Court disbanded not only California’s state law but also made same-sex marriage legal in all states. Under the new Presidency, the court takes responsibility of having the final say on any state or federal laws that may majorly impact our lives, such as the Muslim registration.4. Apolitical does not mean a-opinionated
The Supreme Court claims to be nonpartisan with no political alignment. However, these justices are people like you and I, which means they have their own opinions and beliefs that will impact their rulings. Trump has already said he will appoint a pro-second amendment and voting rights restrictions justice. The justice may rule in favor of such legislation as Ted Cruz’s bill to require birth of citizenship documents for voting that would put the poor at a disadvantage.5. This is a tie breaker appointment
|Scalia located third from the right|
Scalia’s death gridlocked the Supreme Court. Before Justice Scalia’s death, the Supreme Court slightly conservative with five, including Scalia, voting less liberal and four voting more liberal. Justice Scalia’s death opened an opportunity to tip the scales either further into the conservatives hands or into liberal hands. President Obama attempted to do the latter with his nomination with Garland. However, under Trump’s presidency it is highly likely the scales will tip deeply into conservatives’ hands. A hard conservative court may overturn key progressive accomplishments in the court such as LGTBQ, minority and women rights. Overturning some of these accomplishment will diminish America's national value of equality for all under the law.6. Trump plans a hardline conservative agenda with his appointment
Trump’s list is conglomerate of hard right conservatives many consistently pro-life, second amendment and voter restrictions as well as anti-women, minority and gay rights. Trump has already pledged to nominate a pro-life judge who will help over turn Rowe vs Wade. His list to achieve these goals include Iowan judge that ruled in favor of excluding contraceptives for women in Obamacare and a Colorado Supreme Court Judge who ruled University of Colorado’s ban on students carrying guns as unconstitutional. These judges have distinct hard right policies that could heavily sway the Supreme Court decisions.7. Potential for more appointments
Trump’s influence over the Supreme Court will amplify if he gains the opportunity to appoint more judges. Three other judges are 78 or over. Rush Ginsburg, the oldest member at 83, sits as one of the most liberal voices and Stehpen Breyer, 78, leans liberal as well. Additionally, Anthony Kennedy, at age 80, is known as the swing vote on the Supreme Court. If one of these justices dies, Trump can create a majority of hard conservatives that would stay in power for potentially decades to come.