A scant three months after a bruising confirmation battle to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, Politico is now reporting that the White House has quietly put allies on alert that another vacancy may soon occur:
The White House is reaching out to political allies and conservative activistgroups to prepare for an ailing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s possible death or departure from the Supreme Court — an event that would trigger the second bitter confirmation battle of President Donald Trump’s tenure.
The outreach began after Ginsburg, 85, on Monday missed oral arguments at the court for the first time in her 25 years on the bench. The justice, who was nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, announced in late December that she underwent a surgical procedure to remove two cancerous growths from her lungs.
There is no confirmation that a Ginsburg retirement is imminent, or that she is currently in critical health—but as the story notes, for Ginsburg to have missed the last several days of arguments at the Supreme Court is in itself a conspicuous development.
Ginsburg, a member of the Court’s liberal bloc, has been a reliable vote for progressive policies for her entire tenure. If President Trump has the opportunity to replace her with one of the judges from his list of perspective candidates, which he compiled with the help of the Federalist Society, it would hold the potential of swinging the court in a much more originalist direction—giving the conservative bloc a solid 6-3 majority.
Expect a big fight from Democrats if this happens.