USI professor discusses loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – University of Southern Indiana Political Science Professor Dr. Nicholas LaRowe joined Eyewitness News’ Noah Alatza to discuss the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

NOAH ALATZA: Joining us now is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Southern Indiana, Dr. Nicholas LaRowe. Dr. LaRowe, thank you for your time tonight. And obviously we lost a giant in this nation as a whole last night in justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, when you got the news, one went through your mind.

DR. LAROWE: I was sad, and that it was a little bit worried. As you might know, right, there’s some upheaval in the nation right now. She was very revered figure for Democrats. And Supreme Court has become very contentious. So I’m a little bit worried about what the next 44 days or so are going to hold kind of politically.

NOAH ALATZA: And Dr. LaRowe? How big of an impact will this have on the legal community as a whole?

DR. LAROWE: Um, well, it did. It should be interesting. So she was probably the furthest left justice on the Supreme Court, I would expect, you know, a very conservative nomination from President Trump, which would move the center of the court further, right. So this will be a pretty momentous appointment. If the President and the Senate Republicans can get it through before the election.

NOAH ALATZA: And let’s talk about that, obviously, Supreme Court justices are appointed by the president, but we are in an election year. So the question is whether that decision should be made before or after the new presidential term begins? What does precedent show us, though, in this instance?

DR. LAROWE: Well, it depends on what you’re talking about. So up until 2016, it was pretty much if the president nominated somebody, and they are they’re decently qualified, and they had no scandals. They would be approved. In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked kind of this argument that this is too close to the election, the American people should decide this as an election issue. But it seems that now that argument is being modified to say we were elected to do this job, and so we’re going to keep on doing it. It doesn’t matter if there’s an election coming up. So it used to not matter that it mattered. And now I don’t think it matters again.

NOAH ALATZA: Interesting. Well, with the death of Justice Ginsburg, you know, questions now over the future direction of where the Supreme Court will go. But where does it go from here, essentially, just a couple of weeks out from the election.

DR. LAROWE: Um, so in terms of where it goes, I don’t know they start their term in the the first Monday in October. So that’s obviously coming up quickly. So I can’t imagine that there would be a new justice on the court by the beginning of the term, they’ll operate with eight, at least for a while, which we did for all in 2016. And so you might see some of them differ some cases, that would be, you know, tie cases, or wait on some cases, or you might see a lot of typos, which would just basically leave in place. What was decided in the court below.

NOAH ALATZA” And what does the process look like to bring up another supreme court justice? Obviously, Trump needs to nominate somebody, but what what are kind of the mechanics some of the background there?

DR. LAROWE: Sure. So the President picks somebody in these days, they have a list of names, you know, years in advance, he probably already knows who he wants or you know, a couple, then the candidate is vetted very thoroughly. They are interviewed and other people are give testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and then that committee gives a recommendation, and then the full Senate votes.

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(This story was originally published on Sept. 19, 2020)

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