The Supreme Court was one of the most important issues for voters during the 2016 presidential election. When the late Justice Antonin Scalia passed away, both candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were supremely focused on winning over voters by explaining the type of judge they would appoint to the vacancy.
Now that Trump is president and has already gotten two judges confirmed to the Supreme Court — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — there are looming questions that there could be another retirement in the near future.
During an interview on with The Hill, the president was asked about this possibility and made a huge pledge about a possible open seat.
The president promised that he would definitely make a nomination to the Supreme Court if there is a vacancy before the 2020 presidential election.
“Would I do that? Of course,” Trump said in response to being asked if he would try to fill a SCOTUS vacancy during a presidential election.
When asked about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not allowing a hearing on Merrick Garland — the judge President Obama nominated during the 2016 election to fill the seat after Justice Antonin Scalia passed away — Trump said the circumstances are different now.
“They couldn’t get him approved. That’s the other problem because they didn’t have the Senate. If they had the Senate, they would have done it,” Trump said, referring to Democrats.
“It depends. I mean, we have the Senate. We have a great Senate. We have great people. If we could get him approved, I would definitely do it. No, I’d do it a lot sooner than that. I’d do it. If there were three days left, I’d put somebody up hoping that I could get ’em done in three days, OK?” he continued.
None of the nine Supreme Court Justices have indicated that they plan to retire, but there continues to be speculation that liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is 86-years-old, could be stepping down soon.
The second oldest Justice is Stephen Breyer, who is 80-years-old and also one of the four liberal members on the nation’s highest court.
The two oldest members on the court are liberals, which has fueled speculation that they want to retire soon, but are waiting to see who wins the 2020 election.
If a Democrat wins, it is possible that some of the liberals will retire and allow the Democratic president to nominate someone much younger — and probably far more progressive.
If Trump wins a second term in office, maybe RBG will feel the pressure and retire.
Many are also questioning how much longer Ginsburg will serve given she had surgery back in December to remove two cancerous growths from her left lung, forcing her to miss two straight weeks of oral arguments on the Supreme Court.
She has also had health issues and scares in recent years, which have concerned a lot of people.
Ginsburg’s ailing health could be a major signal of what is to come in the near future, and Trump appeared to suggest that his administration will be ready to nominate someone if she or any of the Justices retire.
Republicans have also made it clear they are ready to move if anything happens.
Earlier this year, McConnell said at an event in Kentucky that Republicans would fill a Supreme Court vacancy even if it occurs during the election.
“Oh, we’d fill it,” McConnell said to laughter from the audience.
If RBG or any other Justice does retire while Trump is still in office, the president would have the historic opportunity to nominate a third Justice to the Supreme Court, which currently has a 5-4 conservative bent.