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Analysis

If Trump’s choice of Amy Coney Barrett has you ready to hit the streets, read this first

This Supreme Court nomination fight is over. But the next one has yet to begin

Voting booths at a Chesterfield, N.H., polling site earlier this month.
Voting booths at a Chesterfield, N.H., polling site earlier this month.Kristopher Radder/Associated Press

Friday night President Trump said something nearly everyone can agree with.

At a campaign rally in Virginia, he told supporters that picking Supreme Court justices was one of the biggest things a president could do while in office.

Indeed, because the job on the nation’s highest court comes with a lifetime appointment to render judgment on the country’s thorniest issues of law, the person a president selects, if confirmed, can frame American culture, debate, the role of government, and political power for a generation in ways that few Americans even get a taste of in a single moment.

That said, the inevitable protests and heightened rhetoric surrounding this particular nomination is energy misplaced, no matter if the person is in support of the nomination or against it.

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After all, here is what we know: Unless something truly seismic comes out against nominee Amy Coney Barrett, then she has the votes to be the next justice. The only question is whether that happens before Election Day or after it. And if something seismic does come out, it will have nothing to do with a candlelight vigil, or a protest, or a letter to your elected officials, or an 800-word Facebook post someone who never knew the nominee wrote.

Barrett has been on the radar for some time. Trump reportedly even said last year that he was “saving” Barrett if Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat ever became available.

Folks, this particular fight is over.

Conservatives should turn their focus to Nov. 3. Similarly, progressives should listen to Barack Obama’s phrase, “Don’t boo, vote.”

America is in the unprecedented situation of taking up a Supreme Court nomination this close to an election. In fact, people are already voting in 10 states — Virginia, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine, Vermont, Minnesota, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Wyoming. That should be a sufficient reminder that in less than 40 days, voters will pick the next president, who will likely nominate more Supreme Court justices, and decide control of the Senate, which will confirm them or not.

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The next president could nominate two, possibly, three different judges to the court. The oldest justice is, like Ginsburg, a Bill Clinton nominee: Stephen Breyer is 82.

To be sure, Supreme Court justice appointments can be emotional affairs. Some of the issues the next justice could face may deal with key parts of a person’s identity: gender, race, religion, who someone loves. It’s possible that Barrett will even be sworn in and hear arguments to scrap the Affordable Care Act, a ruling that could be a life or death affair, especially for those with pre-existing health conditions. With this emotion comes the logical feeling to do something about her nomination, whether for or against.

But that something ought to be: getting more active in the 2020 elections. It is unknown whether a senator will ever read the letter you send them. But the voting booth is the ultimate way that the people are heard.


James Pindell can be reached at james.pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell.