In 2018, the vitriolic fight over the nomination of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh played out against the backdrop of pivotal midterm elections, costing tens of millions of dollars before it was over.
This time, the fight over the court will compete for the attention of voters and politicians. With the nation’s televisions already saturated with hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of political advertising around the presidential election and races up and down the ticket, super PACs and campaigns will face their own decisions over how much airtime to dedicate to the issue.
And the stakes could be even higher. A conservative replacement for Justice Ginsburg has the potential to shift the court’s judgment on core issues for the Republican establishment: abortion, gun rights, taxes, religious liberty, immigration, health care and more.
Ms. Severino said her group was preparing a “huge grass-roots network” and would broadcast television ads as well as use social media to demand that the Senate quickly confirm a Trump nominee to the court. She said the fight over Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination to the court was a “knock-down, drag-out, bloody fight and I expect this will be a hard-fought battle.”
Heritage Action, the political advocacy arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation that spent millions in 2018 pushing for the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh, called late Saturday for the “swift” confirmation of a new justice. It did not immediately detail its plans to try to make that happen.
“Conservatives will not waver in our support and resolve for a speedy and fair process,” said Jessica Anderson, the group’s executive director. “Republicans must exercise the power of confirmation that voters have entrusted in them and fulfill their constitutional obligations. The American people depend on this.”
In this case, the fight will take on an added dimension: With 23 Senate seats held by Republicans on the ballot this fall, the fight over replacing Justice Ginsburg, centered in Washington, will sprawl across the country from Maine, where Senator Susan Collins, a moderate, is fighting for her political life; to South Carolina, where the Judiciary Committee chairman, Senator Lindsey Graham, is facing a tighter than expected race; and to Arizona, where the results of a special election between Mark Kelly, a Democrat, and Senator Martha McSally on Nov. 3 could tilt the balance of the Senate even before 2021.