Arizona & ‘Ballot Harvesting’


The Case in Arizona

The Supreme Court recently confirmed that Arizona must enforce its ban on the collection of early voting ballots by campaigners which means that ‘ballot harvesting’ will be illegal up until Tuesday’s election. The law was originally not in tact, but as of November 5th, the ban will be in tact.


Republican Rhetoric of ‘Ballot Harvesting’

The law was approved earlier this year by the Republican-controlled legislature amid claims that allowing anyone to deliver anyone else’s ballot creates an opportunity for fraud (Arizona Capital Times).

“Critics, mostly Republicans, call the practice “ballot harvesting” and say it invites voter fraud. Republican lawmakers tried to halt it by passing a state law that made it a felony to turn in someone else’s ballot, with an exception for relatives, caregivers and roommates (KJZZ Radio).“ Since ballot harvesting primarily concerns those who cannot physically get out to vote, Republicans believe that these voters are primarily minority and underprivileged households, whose votes would not be overwhelmingly in their favor, hence why they want to make it illegal. Republicans used fear in order to persuade people that ballot harvesting invites voter fraud, that ballot collections do nothing but allow those who are not supposed to vote the allowance to vote.


Democrat Rhetoric of Ballot Collection

“Democrats sued, saying ballot collection is key way to get out the vote, especially from minority households. They argued the law violated the Voting Rights Act (KJZZ Radio).” Democrats believe that ballot collection is a key way to get their own supporters votes, as many are often minorities so it would clearly support their votes. Their rhetoric ensues that all people are allowed to vote and results in a more welcoming and open-minded view of voting in our country, as they dismiss voter intimidation.



With the election approaching in a few short days, it is important to consider what laws are being put forth and to whom they will benefit. The overturning of this law occurred in a matter of one day and is important because voting laws should not be altered with this little time before the election. Manipulation of voter laws this late in the election could influence party support.

Media & Supreme Court Appointees


Effects of the Media on Supreme Court Appointee News

At this point, it is clear that the appointing of Supreme Court Justices has become more and more oriented toward achieving political goals. No longer is the vision simply to serve and protect the highest court of law in the United States, but rather to select which issues to settle that are most important to the party at hand. This is perhaps the most important facet of the supreme Court in this day and age as it has significant effects on each party. As technology is increasing, it is becoming more evident to the public that when a Supreme Court candidate is labeled “Trump, R, Apointnee” or “Clinton, D, Apointnee” that the nominee is associated with a president or political party due to some goal or accomplishment the party will receive which results in specific rhetoric from different media sources..


Possible Accomplishments

As far as why an appointee is associated with a specific politician, it is likely that the appointee will satisfy a major goal that is valuauble to the politician. This could pertain to political loyalty during court settlements, party values or simply remaining dependable to the President who appointed him or her as a duty or thank you for the appointment. The media makes this more apparent since it is now more clear than ever as to which appointee is associated with which party, and why.


Effects of Trump

If Trump were to win the presidency, his court would likely reflect that of Judge Scalia, as all 11 nominees he has listed are white, conservative, and primarily male. The media has further enhanced this fact because they have honed in on the characteristics that Trump looks for in a candidate. They have associated each of these people with the Republican Party, and in particular Donald Trump. Due to Trumps explicit rhetoric, the public likely views each of these possible nominees as having the same values as Trump. The association is strengthened by Trump releasing the names of the eleven people, since he is getting the public vote even more involved. Republican media will likely praise Trump for his loyalty to republican values or American liberties. The Democratic media will likely attack him for being too exclusive and not reflective of the diversity of the US.


Effects of Clinton

If Hillary Clinton were to win the presidency, her effect on the Supreme Court could go numerous ways. She could either choose a younger more liberal appointee than Garland, or she could agree with Obama and continue the nomination of Garland. Clintons rhetoric regarding whether or not she will support President Obama or choose her own nominee will have a significant effect based upon the media. Whichever route she chooses, the Republican media sources will probably either attack her for going against her good friend Barack Obama, or attack her for agreeing with Barack Obama after what supposedly ‘hasn’t’ been accomplished. On the other hand, Democratic media will either praise her for choosing her own appointee and being independent, or praise her for agreeing with the trusdtworthy opinion of Barack Obama.


McCain’s Stance on Hillary Clinton’s Appointees



McCain’s Stance on Hillary Clinton’s Appointees

Republican Senator John McCain recently made some fierce remarks regarding the appointment of a Supreme Court justice by Hillary Clinton to replace Judge Scalia. He has spoken of how he plans to stand against any nominee chosen by Hillary Clinton. “McCain made his remarks on WPHT-AM radio in Philadelphia, during an interview in support of fellow Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.). He stated, “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up (Washington Post).”


The rhetoric that has resulted after release of these comments has been very critical from Democrats. It set the reality that a replacement for Judge Scalia could take much longer than they would have hoped for, particularly if Republicans remain in control of the Senate. This could cause the Supreme Court to remain unfilled possibly for the entirety of a democratic presidency if Republicans are in fact opposed to any nomination by the Democratic Party. To further this case, President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland has had no progress in over six months due to Republican urges that the Supreme Court appointee should not be officially chosen until the new President is seated. The bigger issue caused by this dilemma is that the Supreme Court will remain unfilled and imbalanced until a judge is appointed, which may not be for quite some time if Democrat Hillary Clinton becomes president.

Political Gains or Political Peace

The question that surfaces from Senator McCains rhetoric is whether or not the Republican Party cares more about the political gains of their party, or the well-being of the Supreme Court. McCains words seem harsh to democrats and moderates alike, as it appears any judge nominated by a democrat will automatically be shunned, regardless of his or her success, knowledge, potential, or values. The candidate would automatically be deemed ineligible simply because they have been chosen by a democrat which to many, is unreasonable and unwise.

Revoking What Was Once Stated

Since the accusations of McCain being close-minded and partisan after his remarks, he has since revoked his claims that anyone nominated by Hillary Clinton would be considered unfit. “Senator McCain believes you can only judge people by their record, and Hillary Clinton has a clear record of supporting liberal judicial nominees,” spokeswoman Rachel Dean said. “That being said, Senator McCain will, of course, thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications as he has done throughout his career (Washington Post).”


Perhaps the reason for him changing the rhetoric of his claims is that he seems too partisan. Although it is good to be loyal to his party, his judgements came across as harsh and party-oriented since it appeared he would not consider ANY of her appointees even if they were well-qualified. Chances are Senator McCain rebutted his original statements in order to seem more reasonable, bi-partisan, and thorough by attacking the opponent (Clinton) while simultaneously making himself seem more credible by boosting his ethos.

Wednesday’s Debate and the Appointment of Supreme Court Justices

What Will Be Discussed During Wednesday’s Debate?

Based upon the rhetoric surrounding the recent death of Judge Scalia and Donald Trumps latest release of potential Supreme Court appointees, the topic of Supreme Court Judges will be a heated discussion during Wednesday’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It could be argued that based upon previous debates, both candidates will likely prove to have partisan views on the matter at hand and allow their opinions to overwhelm the logistics of the debate.


Trump’s Prospective Argument

In the previous few months, Trump has spoken heavily regarding the values of Supreme Court appointees in which he stands with. In particular, he has made remarks that coincide with a strict interpretation of the Constitution. For example, on July 21st he stated, “At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits…An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans (Life News).” By applying this statement to other social issues, it is clear that Donald Trump’s argument will focus on challenging the liberal point of view. He will adhere a pro-life platform, religious freedom in politics, and a lesser separation of church and state with the goal of encouraging the pulpit to openly preach pro-life values to followers. However, he will likely focus on generalized terms of his discussion, because his rhetoric does not match up with his policy based upon his claims that he cares about women and their rights, meanwhile he is revoking their constitutional freedoms. Instead, he will mainly focus the specifics of the explicit 11 appointees he has openly chosen.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hold up a 'Women for Trump' sign as he greets the crowd after speaking during a campaign event at Grumman Studios in Bethpage, NY on Wednesday April 06, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Clinton’s Prospective Argument

Recently, Hillary Clinton has also made remarks about her opinion on the values of Supreme Court appointees stating, “I want to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand the way the world really works, who have real-life experience, who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerked for a judge and then gotten on the bench, but maybe they tried more cases (Huffington Post).” Clinton is likely looking for a candidate who reflects the diversity of the United States, rather than choosing a white male politician. It has been argued that this statement is a nod to Sonia Sotomayor, an Ivy League-educated Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx who started out as a district attorney in NY before becoming a federal trial judge. Clinton will probably speak of more specific terms related to social justice such as pro-choice, religious freedom, separation of church and state, and precisely the diversity of the American people not only pertaining to race but to religion, age, and socioeconomic statuses. Clinton will try to defend the current laws set in place for LGBTQ persons, women’s rights, and softer immigration laws.


Rhetoric of the Debate

Since it is presumable that Trump and Clinton will be perpetuating the partisan attitudes which is the basis on which presidents have historically appointed supreme court justices. The goal has always been to choose judges, which coincides with their own political agenda. Since this election has been so intensely polarized, especially during political debates, Trump and Clinton will probably speak to each other in an aggressive manner in order to prove their interpretation of the constitution correct. In summation, the views of the 2016 candidates for President of the United States will only further the Democratic and Republican objectives in order to appoint justices which reflect party views.





Trump Releases List of Potential Supreme Court Nominees




Historically, if a left leaning Supreme Court judge passes away, the president will still replace him or her with a left leaning appointee in order to keep the balance in the system, even if the political views do not coincide with that president. By President Obama appointing Judge Merrick Garland, this goes against what politicians have historically chosen. This is why conservatives do not believe that Obama should have the authority to appoint Garland. Since he has entered a lame duck period, many believe that the judge should not be appointed until after the election. Conservatives particularly do not want Garland to be considered based upon the overt list that Donald Trump has recently released.


Rhetoric Surrounding Trump’s Supreme Court Appointees

Recently, Donald Trump released a list of appointees he would consider to replace the late Judge Scalia. The rhetoric Donald Trump used was unlike the methods that most politicians use, especially as a presidential candidate. It is representative of his unorthodox campaign style. He explicitly named the eleven judges he was considering, which is unusual for a candidate to do, as they typically speak in general terms of what they value in the position or qualities of a person in order to appeal to the masses of the party and voters in general. However, by using this blatant tactic of explicitly naming rather than generalizing, it enhances Trumps style of being “upfront and honest” as stated by many supporters. Through naming each of the eleven candidates, Trump was able to reassure conservatives who perhaps doubted him, and gain support through satisfying their taste for who should be a supreme court justice regarding what the values should be. Donald Trump had to pay close attention to the rhetoric of what conservatives desired in order to maintain party support, since in the past many Republicans did not side with him. By strategically choosing those who appealed most to his party—judges who are law-abiding conservatives, strict to the constitution, and less politically motivated, he was able to get more people on his terms.


The Appointees

The people on the list that Trump composed consisted of eleven strict conservatives, many of which chosen by the Conservative Heritage Foundation. The judges are people who are strict interpreters of the constitution, and are young, which acts as an advantage. However, the contenders are the complete opposite of President Barack Obama’s replacement choice, Judge Merrick Garland. Since Trump had very much outside help for his choices, the appointee options are apparently very well accepted by Conservatives who were skeptical of Trump’s devotion to the Conservative Party.



Rhetoric Surrounding the Democratic Party

Although Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee choices are extremely appealing to conservatives, they may not be as glittered with gold to the Democratic Party. Through choosing judges who are strict interpreters of the constitution, that deems social issues which may be interpreted differently at a risk for rulings that do not consider outside views such as liberals and moderates. The choices and rulings made will affect generations to come, and the future of our country. By having far right leaning supreme court judges, that may not exactly balance the system, since liberal views would not be taken remotely into consideration.



What’s Next?

The choosing of supreme court appointees is perhaps one of the most important decisions a candidate faces as their selection largely impacts the future of lawmaking and future generations. Although Trump’s rhetoric reflects the values of the conservative party, judges in that arena will very much displease liberals based on lawmaking that would pertain to abortion, women’s rights, gun laws, etc which is why democrats so badly want to take advantage of the opportunity to fill a seat of the supreme court with a liberal. However, it is important to keep the balance in the Supreme Court after a judge passes, so it could be detrimental to the harmony if a liberal judge was seated. Furthermore, the rhetoric Trump put in place regarding his exact choices for supreme court nominees posed as an advantage for him in the future of his candidacy as he chose candidates which are appealing to his party, benefitting him immensely with regard to future trust in policy.

Politics Around Supreme Court Appointees

Emily Funk

Rhetoric Around Supreme Court Appointees

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Party Influence of Appointees

Historically the rhetoric surrounding Supreme Court Appointees has been focused on candidates’ beliefs and how they impact future lawmaking in the United States of America. This candidate is a Liberal or Conservative, so while seated they will impact laws depending on what their political views are. Following the death of Justice Scalia, the focus has shifted from the candidates’ political beliefs to the timing and nature of the candidate’s appointment.screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-10-35-43-pm

Judge Merrick Garland 

Most recently, President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland because he believed the focus would be on Garland’s political leanings. Obama chose Garland because he was viewed centrist, and figured Republicans would be more open to his nominations. Despite expectations, the Republican party has refused to hold a hearing for Garland for the past 6-10 months. Instead they have chosen to wait to appoint anyone until after the 2016 election in hopes that Donald Trump will win and appoint someone more favorable from their point of view. By gambling for Trump the party was in high hopes that they would have a more favorable candidate to review.

Based upon this evidence, it has been demonstrated that currently the most important part of elections tends to be based upon timing.

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200 Days!– Lame Duck?

Based upon the timeline above, it is evident that the appointment of Judge Merrick Garland has not been reviewed for over 200 days, whereas the average timeline for appointees is approximately 90 days. The hearings for other candidates are based upon the political affiliation of the President, as well as the party that is in charge of the House and Senate at the time of nomination. Currently Republicans are in charge of the House and the Senate. Instead of being willing to review Garland and his centrist views, they are gambling that a more conservative candidate may emerge following the presidential election. The contentious presidency of Barack Obama has helped lead to this unique circumstance, but his suggestion of Garland was generally seen as a bipartisan move. The Republicans have argued that since Barack Obama is approaching his exit of office, he is a ‘lame duck’ and should not be eligible to appoint a Supreme Court Justice. While the legal precedents for this situation vary, the partisan rhetoric surrounding Garland’s review (much less his possible appointment) reflects the currently deep divide between Democrats and Republicans leading up to the November elections.