I see a lot of commentary to the effect that for many conservative U.S. voters, a major reason they supported Trump was because they foresaw, correctly, that his term would see the appointment of several Supreme Court justices. I recall seeing interviews with supporters indicating that some were supporting him reluctantly, despite a dislike of his behaviour, because they very much wanted those justices replaced by a Republican president. Those in the anti-abortion and pro-gun-rights positions, I believe, were highly represented in this cohort.

So, if Trump's pick to replace Justice Ginsberg is approved, and the SC gets into a pretty solid conservative-friendly majority, will these voters need Trump any more? Has there been any analysis of how many might just relax and stay home on election day, or perhaps vote Republican for the houses but not much mind if Biden gets the White House?

Would it perhaps not be better strategy for Trump to delay this appointment, so that social conservatives have a firm reason to see him in a second term?

  • 2
    This might turn out to be the strategy exactly rather than a better one; to appear acting in good faith, push as hard as possible publicly, but then in order to improve votes for second term, fail to get it done quickly for reasons that appear to be beyond one's control.
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 3:56
  • 2
    There is plenty of incentive for conservatives (social and otherwise) to vote. Nominating a new justice is his duty. Conservative voters would be IRATE if he failed to do so.
    – acpilot
    Commented Sep 27, 2020 at 4:41
  • 2
    Trump's promises and voter's concerns in this regard are not limited to the Supreme Court but include judges at all levels of the federal courts. Very few litigants have the resources to get all the way to the Supreme Court so getting better rulings in the lower courts is also a major priority. Getting another SC seat filled would increase his credibility in filling those lower court vacancies.
    – Brian
    Commented Sep 28, 2020 at 19:48

3 Answers 3


A. It wasn't just the Supreme Court, but the other federal courts as well. Those will continue to be relevant.

B. There aren't any obvious SCOTUS vacancies in the next four years, but there could be. (Perhaps Thomas retires.)

C. While unlikely, Trump could prevent court packing schemes. Though the odds Trump wins the White House and the Republicans lose the Senate is slight.

Would it perhaps not be better strategy for Trump to delay this appointment, so that social conservatives have a firm reason to see him in a second term?

Unlikely. Trump promised his base they would "win," and he doesn't have many victories in 2020. If he successfully appoints a popular justice, that's good for his campaign.


Yes, the need to appoint conservative supreme justices won't be over just because he gets a new one before the election. There are still several justices who are getting up in age in length of service on the court.


Clarence Tomas: 72 with 29 years of service appointed by Bush in 91 Stephen Breyer: 82 with 26 years of service appointed by Clinton in 94

Two members who are getting up there in age and in service and with one being a Democrat would be a big win for Trump to replace. There are several more who are in their 60's as well.


To add to the other answers:

Leaving the supreme court seat open would just as well give the democratic base a firmer reason to show up by raising the stakes. Filling it surely angers and motivates them as well, but arguably not as much as the prospect of an open supreme court seat, beside the fact that it would be a far to risky gamble anyway.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .