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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death last Friday created an influential opening on the Supreme Court, setting a partisan power grab into motion and reframing the stakes of the 2020 presidential election. President Donald Trump and key Republican senators support voting on a new nominee before Election Day, November 3rd; former Vice President Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats have urged the Senate to wait until after the election.
Media coverage on all sides has focused on partisanship around the vacancy and possible replacements for Ginsburg. Some coverage from right-rated outlets concentrated on how prominent Democrats reversed positions on filling election-year SCOTUS vacancies since 2016, framing them as hypocrites. With similar framing, some reports from left-rated sources focused on Republicans who've changed their stances. Some coverage from right-rated sources framed Trump's shortlist of potential nominees as promising; some reports from left-rated outlets have centered more on questions and criticisms of possible nominees.
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On the Blog: Different, but united: A look at how Ginsburg and the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia maintained a strong friendshipacross divides; and Trump vs. Biden: Criminal Justice Policy: Our new Perspectives Blog series breaks down each candidate's stances on criminal justice.
More from AllSides: Version 3 of our Media Bias Chart is here! Check out recent changes and see where your favorite outlets fall on the political spectrum; AllSides created a 2020 election Facts and Fact Checking page, where you can see the latest fact checks on the November election; you can also now support our work and mission by becoming a sustaining member of AllSides. Sustaining memberships allow you to read AllSides ad-free.
Snippets from the Left
New York Magazine (opinion)
"If she obsessed over process and order, it was out of a general belief, shared by the postwar liberalism that shaped her, that functioning institutions could provide a neutral bulwark to the excesses of the past. From the beginning, she hated injustice and discrimination, an instinct brought into sharp relief by World War II, but also because they offended her sense of rationality."
The New York Times (analysis)
"Expanding the court — or court packing — is an idea commonly associated with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who pushed legislation in 1937 that could have broadened the Supreme Court from nine to as many as 15 justices. The history is more complicated than the usual narrative suggests: Mr. Roosevelt, aiming to push older justices to step down, wanted to add a justice to the court for each sitting justice who refused to retire after 70. Today, Democrats characterize court expansion as a defensive move against Republican actions, not a unilateral power grab."
Snippets from the Right
W. James Antle III for The Week (opinion)
"Anything that would shift a Supreme Court seat from the liberal to conservative bloc or vice versa should be treated no differently than a Senate race that would change partisan control of the chamber. That's why Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are right to want to try to confirm a Ginsburg replacement. And that's why Democrats are right to do everything that the Constitution and Senate rules allow to block that nomination...Well, not everything.”
Washington Times (analysis)
"The possibility of filling Justice Ginsburg’s seat has upended Senate races from North Carolina to Arizona, giving an already deeply polarized electorate a new focal point...In other states, though, Republican incumbents figure the prospect of a court battle will energize their voters, perhaps rescuing seats that had been in doubt."
Snippets from the Center
"Five states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah—routinely conduct elections primarily by mail. In response to the pandemic, at least four additional states—California, Nevada, New Jersey and Vermont—and the District of Columbia have pledged to mail out ballots to all properly registered voters for the November election...Mr. Trump, who in 2016 frequently predicted a “rigged” election, contends the measures, many put in place because of the pandemic, would lead to fraud and prompt legal challenges that end up before the Supreme Court."
Dan Schnur for the AllSides Perspectives Blog (analysis)
"After the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg last Friday, the issue of legal abortion, which has been settled law in this country for almost half a century, immediately returned to center stage. Once President Donald Trump made it clear that he intended to nominate a new justice, and when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised to move forward with confirmation hearings before the next inauguration, partisan warriors on both sides leaped into action."