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Is Trump's Supreme Court Nominee a Shoo-In, No Matter Who It Is?

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Yes, it appears President Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court is a shoo-in, whoever it is.

To be historically clear, a "shoo-in" does not mean what it used to mean. In the 1930s, it denoted the winner of a rigged horse race.

In 2018, it means that the Republicans already have the votes to confirm the nominee. The Democrats don't stand a chance in this horse race.

Nomination Confirmation

Trump is already on the fast-track with judicial nominations, already surpassing his recent predecessors in numbers of federal appointments. The Republican-controlled Senate is rolling with him, as Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already promised an early vote for the next Supreme Court justice.

Republicans took control of any potential debate last year, when they changed the rules to prevent filibuster. And with 51 Republicans in the Senate, the president doesn't need a single Democrat to secure his choice for the High Court.

Even if one Republican Senator defected from the party, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote. The same would hold true if somebody, say Sen. John McCain, can't vote.

Perry Bacon, Jr., writing for FiveThirtyEight, has tracked the Senators who have voted against the president on other issues so far. He says they may complain, but will vote for the nominee anyway.

Improbable Fallibility

Trump has bypassed tradition with his judicial nominations. He doesn't vet potential nominees with the American Bar Association. He doesn't seek home-state Senators' approval.

In the process, some nominees have wilted in the spotlight. Three Trump nominees have withdrawn from consideration.

It is highly unlikely that any Supreme Court nominee will withdraw, given the odds of confirmation. But stranger things have happened.

"In America, anyone can become president," George Carlin said. "That's the problem."

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