Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Brilliant’ conservative named to US top court




‘Brilliant’ conservative named to US top court

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
If confirmed, Amy Coney Barrett will fill the seat of late liberal US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. AFP

‘Brilliant’ conservative named to US top court

US President Donald Trump named Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, setting in motion a rush by Republicans to cement a conservative majority on the court on the eve of a tense and potentially disputed presidential election.

Trump stood alongside Barrett at a White House Rose Garden ceremony to announce his decision, calling her “one of the most brilliant and gifted minds” in the legal world.

Despite strong opposition from Democrats, he predicted a “very quick” and “straightforward” confirmation in the Republican-led Senate, with the process completed before the November 3 election.

If confirmed, Barrett will fill the seat of late liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, likely steering the court to the right for years, expanding the current conservative wing’s sometimes shaky 5-4 advantage to a solid 6-3.

Trump has previously filled two of the nine seats on the high court.

With the liberals’ influence waning, the court will likely see a replay of some of the biggest judicial disputes in the nation, not least abortion rights and the already battered Obamacare health care plan.

More immediately – and even more explosively – a quick confirmation of Barrett would tilt the court just as fears are growing that the body may have to arbitrate a post-election dispute in which either Trump or his Democratic opponent Joe Biden refuses to accept the result.

Trump, who is well behind in the polls, has repeatedly said he may have to challenge results, alleging – without evidence – that Democrats want a “rigged” election. He said last week that the contest is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.

Biden reacted immediately, saying “the Senate should not act” until voters have chosen their next president.

Senate Judiciary Committee hearings to consider Barrett’s nomination are scheduled to begin October 12.

Underlining the heavily politicised atmosphere, Trump left soon after the Rose Garden ceremony for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania – one of the handfuls of swing states that hold the balance in tight presidential elections.

Trump is hoping his ability to transform the Supreme Court to a favourable territory for right-wing views will galvanise voters. “Fill the seat!” has become a standard chant at his rallies.

Barrett “will defend your God-given rights and freedoms”, Trump told the crowd in Middletown, where supporters enthusiastically received news of her nomination.

“I think she’s an excellent choice,” said rally attendee Dianne Billig, 54. “I like that she is true to the Constitution.”

Democrats are furious, given that Trump could lose the election, yet still leave a judicial imprint with potential to last decades. They are especially incensed, given that Barrett, 48, is replacing Ginsburg, one of the country’s biggest feminist icons and a steady ally of the left.

“Because this Supreme Court nominee may serve on the court for 30 years, it is nothing short of outrageous that they want to approve her in fewer than 30 days,” Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic whip, told CNN on Saturday.

Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said: “Justice Ginsburg must be turning over in her grave up in heaven, to see that the person they chose seems to be intent on undoing all the things that Ginsburg did.”

A majority of US citizens – by 57 to 38 per cent – oppose the push for confirmation before the election, a Washington Post/ABC poll showed.

But leaders of the Republican majority in the Senate, which is tasked with confirming Supreme Court nominees, said they expect a vote either before the election or, at latest, during the ensuing “lame duck” session before the inauguration of the next president in January.

Barrett was first named to the bench in 2017. A deeply conservative Catholic and mother of seven, she is an opponent of abortion, a core issue for many Republicans.

Barrett used her remarks at the White House to try and calm the waters.

She began with an impassioned tribute to Ginsburg, saying: “Should I be confirmed, I will be mindful of who came before me.

“The flag of the US is still flying at half staff in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, to mark the end of a great American life,” she said, noting the jurist’s pioneering success in law. “She not only broke glass ceilings, but she also smashed them.”

Barrett also gave a taste of what will be her presentation to the Senate, describing her conservative values as a judge.

She said: “A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policymakers.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen says Kingdom not a 'satellite country'

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said Cambodia had sent diplomatic notes to various embassies demonstrating its stance and clarifying allegations that the Kingdom is a satellite country of China which will allow it exclusive access to the Ream Naval Base in Preah Sihanouk province. The response

  • Vast Prince Manor fun park opens to much fanfare in Kandal

    Chinese-owned Prince Culture and Development Co Ltd officially launched the $85 million Prince Manor entertainment centre in Kandal province on Wednesday. Prince Manor is located along National Road 1, 20km from the centre of Phnom Penh. It is the first major theme park project in Cambodia and

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to