One of the Justices of the Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia, died early last year, leaving his seat empty. Trump has nominated his pick for the replacement Justice, so we’ll see how that turns out.
The Who What Now?
The Supreme Court is the highest judiciary power in the United States, and at the top of that totem pole are the Justices. There’s one Chief Justice, which has been John Roberts since 2005, and then eight associate Justices under him. Six of these justices are required to make a quorum, meaning that six of them need to be present to conduct any business.
Since February 13th, 2016, one of the associate Justice seats has been left empty, a result of the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia. President Obama tried to fill it after that, but his nomination was waylaid by the GOP, who said he shouldn’t be pushing through such a big thing in an election year. Now, their nomination is going through the ringer in interviews to see if he’s suitable for the position.
Why is this Important?
Well you see.
Up until now, the Supreme Court has been evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. No bias has been given to one party or the other. Trump’s pick for replacement Justice is Judge Neil Gorsuch, and the right-leaning appeals court judge would split the Court in favor of the conservatives again. As well, he’s only 49, meaning that if he’s appointed he’ll be sitting in that seat for a long time.
Supreme Court Justices sit for life, apparently.
So What’s He Gotta Do?
Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing started on the 20th, and they last a couple of days. He has to get sent on by the Senate Judiciary Committee. From there, the entire Senate has to approve him as well.
The hearing usually discusses controversial topics that might impact his decision-making. These include things like abortion, Trump’s travel ban(s), and death with dignity laws that allow assisted suicide
So we’ll see how that plays out.