In Washington, D.C., the Confirmation Hearings of the new Supreme Court Justice, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, will continue through this week. The Confirmation by a majority of the US Senators is expected by October 22 nd . The new Supreme Court Justice will then immediately take her seat on the Supreme Court as one of the nine Justices.
1. Different countries have different procedures for the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. Yet in all countries that have a Constitution and consider themselves to be under the Rule of Law, the Supreme Court plays a special part in the overall Constitutional structure of law and governance.
2. In the United States of America, the sitting President (elected in a national election every four years) nominates a candidate he or she judges suitable for any empty seat on the Supreme Court
3. Under the American Constitution, there are 9 Supreme Court Justices. Appointments following Confirmation by the Senate are lifetime appointments.
4. The potential for a 4-4 tie decision is perhaps only theoretical but it is possible. Therefore, in practice, on the death or voluntary retirement of a sitting Supreme Court Justice, the President generally makes a nomination following a Justice leaving a vacant seat.
5. However, there is no mandatory retirement age for a Supreme Court Justice nor any process for the removal of a Supreme Court Justice by any other Branch of Government under the USA Constitution. This is to ensure the principle of separation of powers strongly set out in the USA Constitution.
6. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was 87 years old, suffering from pancreatic cancer, when she passed on September 18, 2020. She was active in rulings until her last months as a Supreme Court Justice.
7. President Donald Trump had a number of highly qualified candidates, including Judge Barbara Logua, Senator Mike Lee and Justice Amy Coney Barret. All had clerked for previous or active Supreme Court Justices as well as ranked high in their Law Schools Each have received excellent peer and public reviews throughout their legal careers.
8. The choice of Justice Amy Coney Barrett was tipped in her favour by her having been asked to wait and allow Justice Bret Kavanaugh to be nominated by President Trump.
9. There were also strong expressions of support for a woman Supreme Court Justice nomination, given the absence by death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg.
10. Due to the highly partisan split between the two major political parties---the “Democratic Party” and the “Republican Party”---the Supreme Court Confirmation hearings have already taken on strong partisan grandstanding that has little or nothing to do with the qualifications and ability of Justice Barrett to be confirmed.
11. Under the USA Constitution, laws are to be made by the US House of Representatives and then confirmed by the US Senate. They are to be implemented by the President as, in essence, the “Chief Executive Officer.” Any disputes or conflicting judgements from lower courts, if deemed appropriate, are put before the Supreme Court for final adjudication.
12. The United States of America’s Constitution was originally written and ratified in 1788.
13. Therefore, there is a long history for the series of Amendments and Judgements made by successive Supreme Court rulings.
14. Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s judicial philosophy is that of an “originalist” i.e. going primarily by the words of the original framers of the USA Constitution.
15. As of October 14, 2020, she is most likely to win Confirmation by a majority of the Senators now holding the Confirmation Hearings in Washington, D.C.
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