Could Trump Use SCOTUS Nomination to Cast Doubt on Mail-in Ballots?

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Courtesy of Shealah Craighead

President Trump nominates Amy Coney Barrett as next Supreme Court Justice in the Rose Garden of the White House on September 26, 2020.

Julia Lehman, Photo Editor

In the final moments before her unfortunate passing, Ruth Bader Ginsberg wished that her replacement on the Supreme Court not be made until a new President is in office. This wish was ignored by Trump and his allies and now Amy Coney Barrett has been confirmed as the fifth woman to serve on the nation’s highest court.

With five of the existing Supreme Court justices being conservative, Barrett’s appointment changed the court’s composition to six conservatives and three liberals. However, many are outraged at the Republican’s decision to rush Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court so quickly before the election. 

One of President Trump’s potential incentives for Barrett’s conveniently swift appointment has voters concerned.

A TikTok made by a user called “ohleevia” in which she states that Trump didn’t just nominate Amy Coney Barrett for her viewpoints, but because President Trump will call fraud when the election is over has garnered over 140 thousand likes since it was posted. Ohleevia says that Trump needs Barrett on the Supreme Court to decide if the election was actually fraudulent or not. Most of the Tik Tok’s comments showed agreement and concern regarding Trump’s motives. Based on past remarks made by President Trump, the idea might not be implausible. 

Make sure because the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. It’s the only way we’re going to lose this election, so we have to be very careful”

— Donald Trump

During the 2020 Presidential campaign, President Trump has made many claims attacking mail-in voting, most of which were false. In one tweet from August, Trump claimed that absentee ballots in the state of Florida are more secure than mail in ballots. These claims are false, as there is no difference between “mail in ballots” and “absentee ballots”. Furthermore, the state of Florida itself uses the term interchangeably and refers to the ballots as “vote-by-mail ballots”

Trump also tweeted that 80 million ballots were being sent out to people who weren’t even asking for one, which was “unfair and a total fraud in the making.” This claim was also untrue; before the election, nine states and Washington, D.C. automatically mailed ballots to voters, but only to people who were registered voters. Along with that, those ballots only reached 44 million voters, not 80 million.  

Along with Trump’s consistent slander of mail in ballots, he has made multiple statements on whether he will accept the results of the election.

This most notable occurrence was during the first presidential debate when moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump if he will urge his supporters to stay calm and civil, and if he will “pledge tonight [to] not declare victory until the election has been independently certified”. Trump declined to directly answer the question and instead stated “I’m urging supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully… If it’s a fair election, I’m 100% on board. But If I see tens of thousands of ballots being manipulated, I can’t go along with that.” 

He has made similar claims throughout his presidency to incite doubt among his supporters regarding legitimacy of the election. This was seen in August at the end of a speech to his supporters. “Make sure your vote gets counted. Make sure because the only way we’re going to lose this election is if the election is rigged. Remember that. It’s the only way we’re going to lose this election, so we have to be very careful,” said Trump.

Trump’s continuous push of voter fraud and his refusal to consider that he might not win pave the way for him to claim fraud during this election, and if he does, the Supreme Court will be the one deciding if these claims are supported or not. With Barrett now an official justice, Trump has more of a chance than ever to get his way at the end of this election.