I waited three full days before posting this out of respect for the late Justice Ginsburg--approximately two days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 56 seconds longer than most.
The passing on Friday of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which leaves a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, has sent an already insane 2020 into an all-out tailspin, exacerbated by what was purported to be Justice Ginsburg's dying wish: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." Bizarrely, some people seem to think that statement settled the matter.
Before we go further: the very chaos and consternation created by a Supreme Court vacancy--especially in an election year--is a glaring testament to a federal government run completely amok, and the degree of unchecked power the nation's highest court has assumed, in complete contravention to the power granted by the Constitution. This is why we desperately need an Article V Convention of States to rein in our out of control federal government.
Now then, in 2016, when the great Justice Antonin Scalia passed, (who himself supported a Convention of States) while President Obama was in his final year, we saw a non-2020-crazy version of the same consternation, and all the Democrats proclaimed from the hilltops why a new Supreme Court Justice must be confirmed before the election, and all the Republicans proclaimed from the rooftops why one must not.
Here's the bottom line: NONE OF IT MATTERS.
The Constitution is "the supreme Law of the Land" as it spells out in Article VI, and is not subordinate to either the Republican nor Democrat Party, nor to hand-wringing, nor to threats of violence or insurrection, nor even to a Supreme Court Justice's dying wish.
I don't know why everyone was bothering to posture in 2016 anyway. The idea that we as voters should get a vote on who sits on the Supreme Court just because it's an election year is laughable, dangerous, and patently anti-Constitutional. Put simply, we already voted for it, and we have the opportunity to do so every two years.
Per the Constitution itself, we elect a President every four years, who is given the Constitutional authority to nominate people to the Supreme Court. Per the same Constitution (after passage of the 17th Amendment, on the whole a bad idea), we also change the makeup of the Senate via elections every two years, which itself is given the Constitutional authority to advise and consent (or to not do so if it wishes). This is all part of the system of checks and balances.
In 2016, President Obama, as a duly-elected President, had full authority to nominate Merrick Garland (or whomever he liked) to the Supreme Court. Likewise, Mitch McConnell and the Senate, as duly-elected Senators, had full authority to ignore the nomination, consider it, vote up, vote down, or wad up the nomination notice and play hacky-sack with it. They were all serving their respected terms, and granted all authority thereunder. No future election changes the results of a past election one bit.
Let's let the late Justice Ginsburg have the last word on the silliness of all this posturing, with her words to the New York Times in 2016 during that controversy. When asked whether the Senate should vote for Garland's confirmation, she said: "That's their job," and "There's nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being the president in his last year."
Quite right. If you want a certain type of Supreme Court Justice (hint: an originalist), I recommend you get involved in campaigns, rather than ranting, raving, or rioting.