In a shocking turn of events, Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States early Wednesday morning, defeating his highly favored opponent Hillary Clinton. As we all know, the vacant seat on the Supreme Court heightened the stakes in this election, and may very well have helped Trump secure the victory.
Appealing to Conservatism
Trump said from the very beginning that he was “looking to appoint Judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia.” That’s a blanket statement, but Trump’s statement here rhetorically worked to appeal to traditional, conservative values. Justice Scalia was very-far right on most issues and fit the typical Republican platform, and this appeal to conservatism may very well have convinced some to vote for him. In fact, an exit poll revealed that the percentage of voters who saw the Supreme Court as the “most important factor” in the election favored Trump over Clinton, 57 to 40 percent.
The Missing Puzzle Piece?
Early polls suggested that only 45 percent of Republican voters were satisfied with Trump as their party’s nominee and with Clinton favored to win all along, it’s only right to assume voters were swayed by alternative factors. The nation seemed shocked upon Trump’s victory; however, the Supreme Court may offer an explanation for this historic turn of events.
Against seemingly insurmountable odds, Donald Trump has been elected the next President of the United States. Up until late Tuesday evening, a Trump presidency never truly seemed like a realistic possibility. National polls didn’t give him much of a chance, most experts pointed to a Clinton election but as the saying goes, “you never know what can happen”. Now that we know who our next president will be, it’s important to start looking towards the future. A power shift in the Supreme Court seems likely and Trump will almost certainly appoint a conservative nominee to fill the void left by the recently deceased Antonin Scalia. Only time will tell what exactly a Trump presidency means for the Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump’s election represents a lost opportunity for liberals, and they are fearful of what comes next at the Supreme Court. According to the New York Times, there could be a significant power shift in the Supreme Court were there to be another vacancy under Trump’s presidency. That appears entirely possible. As for the implications, they remain to be seen. Taking a look at the rhetoric behind all of this is the next important step for us to take at this time.
Throughout this election, Trump has regularly expressed how important the state of the Supreme Court is to him. By using persuasive language and trying to construct arguments to support his potential nominees, he has set the stage for a strong argument. Whether people believe he’s right or wrong, he has frequently relied on metaphors and other rhetorical devices to appeal to his audience. At the end of the day, whether you agree with him or not, the rhetorical stage has been set.
Election Results on the Horizon
- The long awaited day is finally here, it is Election Day. The most exciting day of the year for all politicians. Tonight we find out who will be our President for the next four years.
- Will our society go to turmoil if the unlikely candidate wins? No. We will be just fine with Trump or Clinton winning the candidacy. Although, our country will experience some major changes with either new candidate.
- A closer look at Hillary’s views for the vacant Supreme Court seat are weighing heavy on many voters’ minds when they are deciding who to vote for today.
Clinton Recap- What Really Matters?
- If Hillary Clinton was able to win the election tonight, “She would be the first president coming into office not having control of both chambers since Grover Cleveland in 1893,” according to NBC News.
- Clinton also could enter office with the distrust of many Americans due to her email controversy and FBI investigation into this.
- Clinton has explained her Supreme Court views during the last Presidential debate, she was quoted saying that, “She wants a justice who would defend women’s rights, back LGBT rights…wanted a court who would stand on the side of the people,” according to CNBC.
- The rhetoric that Clinton uses here is a strategy of identification with voters who she is trying to appeal to in the last couple weeks of the election. By using her ethos to appeal to voters saying that she will appoint someone who is “on their side” this creates a connection between her, the justice, and voters.
- She is trying to appeal to them by appointing someone that will uphold their views and wants. This is appealing to people because it makes Hillary seem relatable to them and people like to support people that they think are most like them.
- If voters believe Clinton’s tactic, voters who want women’s rights, LGBT equality, and a justice on their side… people will stick to vote for Hillary and democratic voters will continue to vote traditionally.
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.
Talk amongst Republicans recently has been centered around blocking Hillary Clinton from appointing a ninth Supreme Court Justice. Is that even possible, for Republicans to shrink the Court? Turns out, it is possible, and it very well may occur.
Prominent Republicans Speaking Out
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr recently came out with a bold promise: “If Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court.” Burr is not alone in speaking out- he is the third prominent Republican to make a public statement regarding the GOP’s intention to block Clinton’s appointments. Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Arizona Senator John McCain both preceded Burr, arguing there is a “long historical precedent for having fewer than nine justices on the supreme court.”
Three prominent Republican Senators speaking out may prove the party’s intense desire to keep the seat vacant, but how could these threats become a reality? In short, the Republican Senate is not required by the Constitution to confirm or even entertain Clinton’s nominee. Further, history underscores the possibility of this occurring, as Court vacancies have been historically common for long periods of time.
Obama Fires Back
President Obama even seems to acknowledge the strong possibility of Republicans accomplishing this court blockade. “What, only Republican presidents get to nominate judges? Is that in the Constitution…?”, Obama beckoned the crowd in North Carolina, the home state of Senator Richard Burr. These three prominent Republican Senators threats are supported by historical precedence, legitimized by the Constitution, underscored by the President’s attacks, and ultimately shed light on the strong possibility of Republicans blocking the ninth Justice from being appointed.
With election day less than one week away, many conservatives and pro life members of the party have voiced their support for Donald Trump’s list of supreme court appointees. They (Trump supporters) say Trump offers the only chance for unborn children to have legal protection via the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs. Wade. Trump’s support groups believe the lists consist of individuals capable of protecting their rights (and beliefs). Not surprisingly, the issue of abortion is of utmost importance to these supporters. On the other side, you have Hillary Clinton who has repeatedly stated that she will not waver on her abortion stance. Her supreme court nominees will do whatever they can to ensure their beliefs are properly implemented. Hillary Clinton has made it very clear that the only nominees she would consider for the high court would be potential judges who strongly support abortion and keeping Roe and it’s unlimited abortions in place. It’s not too surprising that both presidential nominations took such stances.
Implications (Rhetorically speaking)
Over the course of this election, Donald Trump has taken a few measures to ensure he caters to his audience. By understanding what his supporters want, when it comes to tasks such as appointing supreme court nominees, he know who his people would like. Being pro life is something many conservatives pride themselves on. By creating the narrative that his audiences desires, he’s played himself in a quality position on this subject. Rhetorical devices such as metaphors and imagery are key components of his campaign and he has implemented them effectively. Time will tell if Trump’s grasp on rhetoric works or not. Stay tuned.
Republican Party: At Odds
- If Trump loses, this forces many Republicans to devise a new plan, the Democrats could take back the Senate majority.
- Many other Republicans agree with Senator Burr’s opinion, as they want to try to keep control of both the Senate and the House so they can decide the next Supreme Court Justice.
- Basically, the Republican Party must come together in order to create a unity to defeat Hillary Clinton. The divided party lines between conservative Republicans and Trump supporters is causing greater problems for the Republican party as a whole.
- Mario Loyola, who wrote an essay in National Review, said, “that the party should not tear itself apart over such trivial matters as to weather it is a good idea to turn over the Executive Branch to an unstable, dictator-admiring racist. Instead, it should unite around common beliefs…fight tooth and nail to keep Hillary Clinton from nominating a justice…”
- Mario’s use of rhetoric is trying to bring voters to a call for action, by describing the worst outcome of the situation at hand in a light manner. At the same time, he attempts to redirect their focus to what Republican’s mission should be based on. He is using pathos, by displaying the emotions at stake for Americans behind nominating the Supreme Court Justice to appeal to voters.
- Hopefully, voters will be able to get past Trump’s questionable choice words about issues to see the real issue at hand, choosing the next Supreme Court Justice.
What Has Been Said So Far
Although the question of who the new Supreme Court appointee will be is an immensely important issue in the upcoming election, it has received relatively little attention from the media and the candidates themselves. In the first debate, it was not brought up at all. In the second presidential debate, it was brought up but due to time constraints in the rhetorical situation of a town hall debate, not a whole lot was or could be said by either candidate. Clinton attempted to use the rhetorical strategy of identification by saying she wants people in the Supreme Court who “who understand the way the world really works, who have real-life experience.” However, she was probably identifying with too large of audience because it is highly doubtful many people want someone who does not have “real life experiences” on the supreme court. Trump on the other hand, also used the identification strategy but a little more effectively than his opponent in this case. He said he already has a list of 20 candidates he would consider, compared to Clintons 0, but more importantly he identified with audience members who have strong opinions about the 2nd amendment by saying that the right was “under siege by people like Hillary.”
What To Expect On Wednesday
Hopefully Wednesdays debate will allow this, and other important policy issues, to be discussed in further detail while minimizing the amount of bantering between the candidates about unimportant issues. We can at least conclude that the lack of attention on the topic of the Supreme Court nomination in the previous debates will open the floor up on Wednesday night for Trump and Clinton to really get their perspectives out there. Trump was a strong supporter of Justice Scalia who was considered to have a very “strict” viewpoint on the Constitution. Trump will probably look to reinforce his position on 2nd amendment rights and will say he wants to appoint a Justice that will follow in Scalia’s footsteps. However, this will continue to negatively impact the LGBT community’s stance on Trump as Scalia was opposed to same-sex marriage. Although I think that Trump realizes the LGBT community is not necessarily his target audience, I believe he will try to downplay the fact that Scalia was against same sex marriage if it brought up. Also, he will probably name some of his considerations that support same-sex marriage, and are not as strict on the constitution as Scalia in an attempt to appeal to more undecided voters, namely heterosexuals that support same-sex marriage.
Clinton also talked about protecting rights when the question of the Supreme Court nominations was brought up in the last debate, but her argument was directed more towards protecting voting rights for minorities and lower class individuals and supporting the decision made in Roe v. Wade. While protecting these rights is very important to many people, Clinton might have made a mistake by pushing to hard left on the Supreme Court nominee. To conservatives who are not necessarily on the “Trump Train” she unintentionally reinforced one of the few reasons that they consider to be an important factor in the decision to vote for the less than ideal candidate. Some even to the point where Friday’s tape of Trump’s lude comments has become forgivable. However, polls show Hillary with a decent lead and her stance on the Supreme Court may prove to have no impact on her overall campaign. On Wednesday expect to see Clinton stick to her guns about voting rights, same-sex marriage, firearms and continue to push for a left sided Supreme Court.
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..
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.
Two prominent Republicans, John McCain (left) and Ted Cruz (right), have recently stepped forward with bold statements about the Supreme Court – statements so bold, they reveal the party’s acceptance of looming defeat and the redirection of their efforts to preventing a left-leaning court.
McCain’s Aggressive Promise
John McCain, former GOP presidential candidate, made headlines recently with his public promise, that “Republicans will be united against any nominee put forth by Hillary Clinton, if she were to be elected President.” McCain’s statement was certainly aggressive, and seemingly threatening. However, it made one thing clear: Republicans are on the defensive, expecting defeat and are attempting to grasp onto any hope they may have of acquiring a right-leaning majority in the Court.
Ted Cruz Follows Suit
Ted Cruz’s recent statement about the possibility of keeping the Court’s final seat vacant was certainly less aggressive than McCain’s. However, it reinforces that the Republican party is preparing for defeat and that McCain is not merely an angry Republican (or perhaps still bitter that he lost the 2008 election). Cruz’s statements, although less blatant, further reveal the Republican party has turned their efforts away from winning the election and toward preventing a left-leaning Court on top of a Democratic President.
Republican’s Redirecting Efforts
This recent shift in rhetoric surrounding the Supreme Court – from Trump’s Court vs. Hillary’s Court – to Republican threats to block Hillary’s nominees makes one thing very clear: the GOP’s outlook on the election is bleak. These statements reveal they have already accepted defeat and are grasping onto the one hope they have – preventing Hillary from acquiring a left-leaning Court in addition to her presidency.