In light of the recent passing of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a vacancy is open in the nation's highest court, and must be filled to maintain a system of checks and balances. Typically, the process is routine when confirming a nominee; however, because of the unique timing, many are intrigued for this nomination round. As you and I watch closely, I wanted to highlight key pieces of information to remember throughout the confirmation hearings.
First, Justice Ginsburg is a historic figure who achieved many victories for women in the work place and society. She pioneered a revolution for gender equality, as the law treated men and women differently.
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the land, hearing 100 to 150 cases a year on topics ranging from grievances between two or more states, involving an ambassador or public ministers, on appeal and determining constitutionality of the law. Ruling on a law's soundness is crucial, as the Supreme Court can uphold or deem legislation unconstitutional. For example, on July 2, the court determined an Indiana law, which I co-authored in 2016, is constitutional as it requires ultrasounds at least 18 hours before a woman undergoes an abortion. This ruling was enough to discourage Planned Parenthood from refiling its lawsuit, potentially allowing more babies to be saved.
As stated in the Constitution, Supreme Court justices are to be nominated by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. To start the process, a formal statement is drawn and sent to the Senate. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee initiate investigations and interviews to issue a final recommendation and call for a vote. If a nominee is not confirmed before the next Congress, the process will start again.
Until a new justice is sworn in, the nation's highest court is operating with eight judges instead of nine. This is not ideal, because continuing to rule on cases with an even number allows a split vote. The balance of power is the foundation for our nation and our state. It is imperative for our country to maintain equal power among its branches, and this decision cannot be stalled.
When the next justice candidate is announced, I encourage everyone to watch closely and stay informed throughout the process.
State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75,
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.
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