Amy Coney Barrett: a last-minute triumph for Trump?
Trump's candidate, the conservative lawyer Amy Coney Barrett, has been sworn in as justice of the US Supreme Court after being confirmed by the majority Republican Senate. At the swearing in, Barrett asserted that her work on the Court would not be swayed by her political beliefs. Commentators, however, take a different view.
His real legacy
Although the political tally of Donald Trump's presidency is mediocre, with his Supreme Court appointments he leaves a lasting mark on the country, The Daily Telegraph points out:
“Even if the Republicans do lose everything next week, at least Trump will have this one, critical legacy in the domestic arena - putting a brake on whatever Joe Biden tries to do in office. The President's foreign policy is still chalking up wins (one Arab League state after another is recognising Israel) but his chief domestic triumph, the economy, has been wiped away by Covid-19. Barrett's confirmation means Trump leaves behind an indelible mark for a generation; a constant reminder that he was there.”
The new judge can make her mark on the US
This appointment means the Supreme Court will no longer be an institution that can counteract the advancing polarisation in the US, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung laments:
“Coney Barrett now has plenty of time to make history. ... By gradually tightening the abortion legislation, for example, she could leave her mark on the country. Certainly, this won't make her an idol for the majority, but many Americans would love her for it. Amid all the outrage over the divisive policies of Trump and his team, this must not be forgotten: the ideological contradictions in American society are not a myth, nor are they a flaw per se. However, they do require institutions that can find compromises, or that can at least organise a respectful coexistence. Little is left of that.”
Indecent, brutal power politics
Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation deals several blows to democracy and the rule of law, says Der Standard:
“On the one hand, the Republicans achieved this success by unfair means. In 2016, eight months before the presidential election, they refused to let Barack Obama appoint a judge, as he was entitled to do. And yet now, just a few days before the election, they have pushed through their candidate. This is brutal power politics at the expense of any political decency. At the same time the country's most important court is losing its democratic legitimacy and threatens to end up representing the interests of only a shrinking minority in the coming years. For demographic reasons alone, America is moving to the left, which probably explains why Republicans are fighting so fanatically for this bastion.”
Democrats must avoid panic reactions
It is unwise of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to think aloud about extending the Supreme Court, says Berlingske:
“Biden is interfering in a matter he should stay away from, especially so close to the election. Even if the judges on the Supreme Court, like everyone else, have their own stances, there is no reason to cast an shadow of infamy over the institution. There are many examples of judges deciding differently than expected for legal reasons. Most recently in Trump's tax affairs, when two of the judges he appointed ruled against him. ... Biden's proposal is panicky and hasty. ... This is just another flank being opened up in the endless war of the wings in the US.”