WAYS TO HELP
Honor Ruth Bader Ginsberg's legacy by helping flip the Senate, and win the presidency, to Save the Supreme Court.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg ("RBG") was an awesome, very liberal, Supreme Court Justice. She died on Friday, September 18, 2020 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Of the 9 seats on the Supreme Court, 5 are held by conservatives. Trump – with help from Senate Republicans – could fill RBG's seat with an ultra-conservative judge, giving them a 6-3 advantage.
This means that the court could easily overturn marriage equality, abortion rights, or future legislation enacted by Democrats, including Medicare for All and police reforms.
Amy Coney Barrett
With Pres. Trump choosing Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat once held by RBG, it's clear what the strategy is for the future of the Supreme Court: Overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark decision that made abortion legal in the United States.
The right-wing has been chipping away at abortion access for years now, but a woman with anti-abortion views on the Supreme Court – who shifts the balance of power clearly into the conservative side of things – is obviously intended to put the nail in the coffin for abortion.
This text was edited from an email by Ryan Grim, on his email list "Bad News".
THE MAKEUP OF THE SENATE
Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, which is the chamber of Congress that votes on appointing Supreme Court justices nominated by the president. Because they have that majority, their "majority leader," Mitch McConnell (from Kentucky), gets to decide what votes happen in the Senate – he has ultimate power on that decision! If we take away that majority, by flipping the Senate (voting out some Republican senators and replacing them with Democrats), then McConnell's just a guy from Louisville who commutes to Washington to object to whatever Democrats are doing.
There are at least 13 Senate races where Democrats could replace Republican senators: Arizona, Maine, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia (there are two seats up for re-election in this state), Alaska, Iowa, South Carolina, Texas, and Kansas.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell himself is also being challenged by Amy McGrath, running as a member of the Democratic Party. She already has a TON of money, but it currently looks unlikely that she will win her race against McConnell – perhaps even less likely than the Democratic Party challengers winning against the Republican senators in deeply conservative Mississippi and West Virginia!
As of Saturday, September 26, it appears that Donald Trump has chosen a nominee. The majority leader, McConnell, has said he intends to try and fill the Supreme Court vacancy as soon as possible – probably before the election.
But the idea that Republicans are going to attempt to fill a new lifetime appointment – by an impeached president – in the middle of an election is pretty unpopular. 52 percent of respondents have said that Congress should wait, while only 39 percent have said Trump should fill the seat now.
While flipping this Supreme Court seat from RBG – a very liberal justice – to a very conservative justice is the culmination of Republican hopes for many years now, the prospect of losing even more seats than they expect might scare some Senators away from acting too rashly.
With almost a dozen of Senate seats in play, some senators might want to drag their feet a bit. We know that Senator Lisa Murkowski (from Alaska) has said she won’t approve a new nominee before the election. And Senator Susan Collins (from Maine) has said, "the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd." She's in a very vulnerable seat so at serious risk of feeling the wrath of voters. But we also know she often makes pronouncements like this – and then later goes back on her word by making excuses.
That means the Republicans are at only 52 votes for sure, and maybe even down to 51 votes. If McConnell loses 2 more votes, he can't pass the nominee.
THE LAME DUCK SESSION
If, for some reason, the nominee is not able to get their hearings and be approved before the election, there's the Lame Duck session of Congress: While many senators are not up for re-election, and most who are up for re-election will win, it's possible that many will be voted out, but they'll still have their Senate seats between Election Day and inauguration in January.
If the Democratic Party wins on Election Day, McConnell and the Republicans would be highly motivated to fill the vacancy during the lame duck session in November or December. They will have already lost the election, but will be retaining power until January, so there's no political cost for them to use the power they still have and appoint someone.
There's a hitch, though: Astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords (who had to leave Congress after becoming a victim of a mass shooting in her district), Mark Kelly, is running for a special election in Arizona and he is expected to win. He's a Democrat, and if he's elected he could be sworn in as a senator in November or December, before inauguration in January. That takes the Senate Republican majority down to just 52.
With Murkowski (from Alaska) already saying she won't vote to fill the vacancy, that means the Republicans are now at 51 votes. That's a slim margin! And it means we might be able to influence what happens.
Democrats have talked about increasing the size of the Supreme Court from 9 to 13 justices, which would make 7 liberals and 6 conservatives – this is called "packing the court." In the process, Democrats could also add scores of lower level judges, undoing McConnell’s signature achievement of taking over the federal bench with right-wing zealots. This is an extremely bad prospect for Republicans, as it would erase all their recent gains on the courts.
HOLDING THE LINE
If the Republicans think the threat of Democrats expanding the majority (if they win) is real enough, they might cut a deal with the Democrats – something like, "We won't vote on a nominee, as long as you don't expand the Supreme Court." They will probably think it's better to have their current 5-4 margin (allowing the Democrats to appoint a moderate or liberal) than a much less powerful one.
But if we get to the election and anything doesn't go our way? Well, we could be in trouble.
For example, if Biden wins, but the Democrats don't flip the Senate, then there's no reason for Republicans to wait on appointing a Trump nominee. They know anyone Biden nominates will be liberal or moderate, and they don't want that, so better to go ahead and appoint someone before Biden takes office.
If the Democrats flip the Senate, but Biden loses, then there's no reason for Republicans to wait on appointing a Trump nominee. They know Democrats would reject any future nominees from Trump, and they don't want to end up having Trump forced into picking someone more moderate.
In either of those cases, Murkowski, Romney, Collins, and maybe even some other senators might be persuaded not to vote in the lame duck session. That's why we need to pressure them as much as possible!
If Biden wins, and the Democrats take the Senate – and the Republican targets we mentioned refuse to vote on a nominee before the election – then we've won.
SO WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
We want to delay everything as much as possible, doing whatever we can to force Republicans to wait. The hope is that we can win the Senate and the presidency and stop them from appointing someone terrible.
The only good news – among the loss of a RBG, and the threat of a new conservative judge – is that more people than ever are galvanized to vote. We just need to help them do that.
WHAT IF WE LOSE
We have to do everything we can to stop this, but it's possible it might not be enough.
In that event, we have to make sure – if the Democrats win – that they take the necessary steps to re-establish balance to the courts. This could mean pushing them to...
> Add more justices
> Impeach Neal Gorsuch (who's seat was stolen from Pres. Obama by McConnell)
> Impeach whomever is appointed before the election (because they were nominated by an impeached president)
> Or other creative ideas, like this one.
If you want to keep up with the news about the confirmation fight, touch this button:
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The fastest, but least effective thing you can do. Sign these petitions, then do other things!
Do not donate to change.org: The donations they ask for do not go to the causes but to change.org themselves! Your money could go to much better places like on the donate page. The petitions still make a difference so continue to sign!
Call the Senate
Calls – we know they seem scary, but they're easy, fast, and they're the most effective thing you can do to persuade your senators!
Use this number below to be patched through to your own senators first, and then Sen. Chuck Schumer (Democratic Party Senate Minority Leader). Touch the button and it should open your phone app. If not, just dial the number on your phone.
"Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I'm from [YOUR CITY]. The Senate should not confirm a Supreme Court justice before Inauguration Day. My senator should do everything in their power, including blocking unanimous consent, filibustering, and all other procedural tools, to make that happen. Thank you."
Do not hang up until you've been connected to your other senator, then Sen. Schumer's office.
Donating can be extremely effective in conjunction with making phone calls, signing petitions, and volunteering.
Electoral campaigns will use your donations to buy television and internet ads, as well as turning out voters, and maybe even hiring more staff.
The button below allows you to donate to 14 U.S. Senate campaigns at once – your donation will automatically be split between them.
Want to do more? The button below links donation opportunities could help make something BIG happen, like flipping a state legislature.
These organizations are doing work around the Supreme Court – and the election – to educate the public, and turn out voters.
Know of others we should add? Click the button in the footer and let us know.
These organizations will be most impacted by a conservative Supreme Court judge who could rule against the interests they serve:
Learn more about these organizations:
The most important thing you can do is vote on or before Tuesday, November 3.
Take less than 5 minutes to check your registration below (you gotta make sure you weren't removed from the voter rolls!). It's just a quick form, and it will let you know your status, and then help you register if needed.
Post a Letter in Your Local Newspaper
Sounds crazy, but members of Congress really hate getting slammed by their constituents in the local papers! Mostly it's because boomers still read newspapers and legislators care what boomers think because they reliably vote.
Submit a "letter to the editor," which could get posted in your local paper. It will definitely get seen by your legislator.
TEXT EDITOR TO 50409
USE THIS AS INSPIRATION:
"I think it's appalling that Senate Republicans are planning on filling the Supreme Court seat of Ruth Bader Ginsberg before Election Day. In 2016, they held open Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court seat for over 9 months to hand it to Donald Trump. Let the American voters have their say – we must wait to appoint a Supreme Court Justice until after the inauguration."
Weirdly, people who get hand-written postcards reminding them vote are far more likely to return their ballots or go to the polls. So you can join a postcards program to receive a free packet of postcards that will be addressed to people who tend not to vote but mostly vote for Democrats, write out the postcards, and send them before the election and make a real difference!
Sign up soon, because they need time to send you your cards, for you to write them, and then send them to voters in time to remind them to vote!
If you really want to help take the Senate, you have to volunteer. It takes more time, but it's really, really effective.
Campaigns mostly need people who can help call voters to ensure they vote. You can do this from home. It may sound a bit scary, but the campaign will give you training (usually takes about 30m) and then connect you to a "dialer" – you call in from your phone while in front of your computer and it connects you to people the campaign thinks will vote for their candidate. Simple, and most people are really nice on the phone with you.
The links below go to the campaigns of Democratic Party challengers who could flip the Senate seat they're running for – from Republican to Democrat. If we flip even 5 of these, we'll control the Senate in January.
You DO NOT have to live in the same state as the candidate to volunteer! But if you do live in one of these states, definitely choose that one.
Each of these buttons will put you on the volunteer page for that campaign. Enter your info and someone will contact you soon.
Be a Pollworker
This election, especially, there is a dire need for both people to help Election Day voters to complete their ballot, but also to protect polling places from right-wing interference.
Being a pollworker is a paid position, where you assist at a polling place (civic centers, churches, etc. where people vote). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a much greater need than normal for people who can help at polling places to ensure everyone can vote. Pollworkers will have Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) supplied for them! 😷
Nonpartisan Election Protection volunteers work Election Day and ensure that voters can exercise their rights in the face of restrictive election laws, coronavirus-related voting disruptions, or anything else that could silence their voices.
There are different ways to participate, between monitoring polling places (from your vehicle, or with proper personal safety equipment), watchdogging social media for disinformation, or reaching out to voters to make sure they know their rights.