Political science assignment
This morning Supreme Court Justice Kennedy and Ginsburg submitted their resignation from the Court. The President of the United States has nominated two strongly conservative nominees. With a highly divided Court, the White House sees this event as a key opportunity for President Trump to shape the short- and long- term agenda of the Court. The Senate is under Republican Party control. You are an advisor in judicial affairs to Senator X and your expertise is well regarded among your superiors and co-workers. Senator X just asked you to write a briefing memo (5-10 pages) to explain to her and other senior people the relevance of this vacancy. This is a good opportunity for you to promote yourself as a resourceful member of the team.
In your memo, Senator X wants you to address specifically these five issues:
(a) Describe the recent and current ideological orientation of the Court and any significant developments worth mentioning (i.e., explain the concept of the median justice, the lack of judicial consensus, etc.)
(b) Describe the main elements of the nomination process that you think advisors to the President need to be familiar with when thinking strategically about who to nominate (i.e., the role of the candidates’ qualifications, ideological partisanship, outside interest groups, etc.)
(c) Describe the differences that you see between replacing Kennedy and Ginsburg
(d) Describe to what extent new Justice(s) would be able (or unable) to advance the President’s agenda by affecting the agenda of the court, in particular discuss what factors affect the court’s agenda-setting process.
(e) What options are available to the senator and what are the chances to succeed in favor or opposition of the nominations.