‘Strained’ Decisions by Supreme Court Show Importance of 2020 Election: Trump

By Zachary Stieber

President Donald Trump said that recent decisions by the Supreme Court highlight the importance of the 2020 election since the president gets to nominate new justices in the event of a retirement or death.

“Recent ‘strained’ decisions by the United States Supreme Court, some so simple as allowing the question, ‘Are you a citizen of the United States’ on our very expensive Census Report, or the even more strained decisions (2) allowing the world’s most expensive & pathetic healthcare (Obamacare) to stay in place, when it would have been replaced by something far better, shows how incredibly important our upcoming 2020 Election is,” Trump wrote on July 9.

“I have long heard that the appointment of Supreme Court Justices is a President’s most important decision. SO TRUE!” he added.

President Trump has nominated two Supreme Court Justices who were later confirmed—Justice Neil Gorsuch, filling the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The election of Kavanaugh cemented the court in a 5-4 conservative tilt, although that has proven more tenuous than thought by some, as seen in the recent census decision. Chief Justice John Roberts, nominated by a Republican president, sided with the four justices chosen by liberal presidents in the decision.

The Trump administration has been pushing to add a question asking about a person’s citizenship onto the 2020 census but has so far been unable to, thanks to a lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court ruling its rationale seemed “contrived.”

The oldest person on the court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has suffered a number of health issues in recent years, including bouts with cancer and broken ribs.

The justices of the U.S. Supreme Court
The justices of the Supreme Court gather for a formal group portrait to include the new Associate Justice, top row, far right, at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, on Nov. 30, 2018. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Ginsburg, 86, has given no indication she will retire soon.

The second-oldest justice is also one nominated by a Democratic president. Stephen Breyer is 80 years old.

The oldest conservative-nominated justice is Clarence Thomas at 71.

Thomas recently said he does not plan on retiring soon.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush
Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, sits with fellow Supreme Court justices for a group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, on Nov. 30, 2018. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

“I think people just wanted me to know what I was going to do, since I couldn’t figure it out myself,” Thomas said, responding to a question. He said his wife, Gini, came downstairs recently and told him she’d gotten news alerts regarding stories about the rumors.

“She says, ‘What is it I don’t know?’” I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ She said, ‘You’re going to retire.’ I said, ‘Glad to know that,’” Thomas said.

“I have no idea where this stuff comes from. I think one of the things you have to get used to in this business is that people can say things about you and for you that have nothing to do with you,” he added.