One Vote Away: How a Single Supreme Court Seat Can Change History is the title of Senator Ted Cruz’ new book. He wrote it during the Covid-19 lockdown. It promises to be a detailed look at Senator Cruz’ long relationship as a lawyer and lawmaker with the Supreme Court. Otherwise the title says it all. We hope it explains how a single Supreme Court Seat can change history.
Hand of Providence
We try to refrain from commenting on current events. History has a way of giving us greater insight and judgement with the passing of time.
But accidents happen and history is thrust upon us.
The recent death of Justice Ginsberg has been heralded by religious people as the Hand of Providence in what may be the waning days of a Trump presidency. His choice of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the vacant seat has been greeted with glee from the political Right and with great “weeping and gnashing of teeth” from the Left.
Skepticism requires us suspect that both will be disappointed. Nevertheless the new Justice Barrett will be on the court for many years. Senator Cruz’ book might give us insight into how her appointment can change history.
Fox News Interview with Senator Cruz
Our book is on order so we can’t comment on it’s content yet.
A short sample from the book discusses how the replacement of Justice Scalia became a central issue in the 2016 presidential campaign. As Senator Cruz said on a yet unknown page of his book, “For many Americans, myself included, it was the single most important reason we voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.”
When Amy Barrett is inevitably confirmed by the Senate, will that take the Supreme Court off the table for 2020?
Here Senator Cruz discusses his book with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News, Sunday September 13, 2020.
Still Just One Vote Away
Regardless of the outcome of the 2020 election, the Supreme Court will remain potentially one vote away. While Justices are not supposed to be influenced by their biases, they clearly are to some extent; otherwise the political calculus about how a particular Justice leans would not be relevant.
Here are the ages of the current Justices assuming Amy Barrett is confirmed.
A swing vote is defined as as a vote that is notoriously difficult to predict. All we can hope for is that the plain words of the Constitution will prevail, preferably as the majority in Heller read those plain words.
That decision was written for the majority by the now deceased Justice Antonin Scalia.
Stare decisis is Latin for “to stand by things decided.” In short, it is the doctrine of precedent. Some Justices believe this doctrine more firmly that others. Amy Barrett is on record affirming her belief in Stare decisis. That should give comfort to citizens whose burning issue is Roe v. Wade.
We hope that Justice Sotomayor will feel the same about Heller. As a lower court judge, she was known to use stare decisis, but mostly as cover for decisions with which she already agreed.
Obviously future decisions are potentially one vote away.