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Supreme Court battle reshapes presidential race

Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 8:14 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The death of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg brought an outpouring of appreciation for her life and legacy.

It is also reshaping the presidential race here in Virginia and across the country.

“I think it’s a very big issue,” said Roanoke College Professors Harry Wilson. “I think it’s a very big deal.”

“I think this is a dramatic impact in terms of the presidential campaign,” Virginia Tech’s Bob Denton agreed.

As the tributes to Ginsburg grew over the weekend, so did the debate over the path forward. President Trump promised to nominate her replacement later this week. And Democrats vowed to fight the GOP plan to confirm a new justice before the election.

The issue will energize the bases on both sides, but Denton and Wilson agreed the issue favors President Trump in his bid for reelection.

“When President Trump makes an announcement, then people can see very clearly the link between policy and Supreme Court decisions,” Denton said. “And it might provide a rationale of saying, I’m not sure about Trump, but certainly I can see the direction of the Supreme Court. And it might motivate some of those that were a little bit on the fence to vote for Trump.”

“There are some people on the political left who say ‘I don’t understand how anyone could ever vote for Donald Trump,’" Wilson said, "and this brings to the forefront the reason why many of those people would, and will in fact vote for Donald Trump.”

Wilson said that shouldn’t make a significant difference in Virginia, where recent polls gave Joe Biden a double-digit lead. But he said it could be important in battleground states like North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

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