The Week Ahead: 8 – 14 July 2018

The Week Ahead: 8 – 14 July 2018

Trump chooses the next Supreme Court Justice. Italy, Germany, and Austria meet to hash out refugee migrant border plan. All in The Week Ahead. 

UNITED STATES: Trump Supreme Court pick could impact law and politics for decades

  • On Monday evening, President Trump plans to announce his choice for the Supreme Court vacancy left by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy at the end of July. Most believe that the nominee will be either Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Barrett, and Raymond Kethledge. All are currently lower-level judges, with Judge Barrett chosen by Trump to serve in the 7th District in fall 2017, Kavanaugh on the DC District court from 2006, and Kethledge on the 6th District court since 2008.
  • All prospective justices are young (the oldest is 53), and with lifetime appointments each could serve for at least the next 30 years. It is highly likely that given the established skepticism each of these choices has had for the power of federal agencies, the appropriateness of previous Supreme Court precedent decisions (including Roe v. Wade and Brown v. Board of Education), as well as previous decisions relating to net neutralitygun control, abortion, environmental regulations, and religious organizations, that the court will swing unmistakably in a conservative direction.
  • Liberals have already lamented that Roe v. Wade could be overturned, while legal scholars have commented that in many cases, it is possible that several Supreme Court precedents that liberals have relied upon will die a “death by a thousand cuts.” This choice of Supreme Court justice is usually one of the most consequential of any presidency, but given Justice Kennedy’s record as a swing vote in some cases, the shift of a Supreme Court majority to firmly conservative for the next 30 years, this one will be monumental.

GRI Take: While it is too early to project what exactly will happen, as the Democrats do not have a majority in the Senate and cannot use the filibuster to slow the nominee, Trump will likely get the judge he wants. This could upend politics in the United States, particularly for the American left.

EUROPEAN UNION: Meeting between Italy, Germany, and Austria designed to hash out refugee migrant border plan

  • Having acceded to demands from her right flank that she take a much firmer stance on refugees, last week Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to stop refugees crossing from the Austrian border into Germany, under the guarantee that refugees should be processed (and admitted/deported) at their port/location of entry. This week, the governments of Germany, Austria, and Italy will meet to discuss a plan of action to stem the tide of migrants from the southern edges of Europe.
  • Given that the coalitions of Austria and Italy are supported by very anti-immigrant, hard right political parties, these talks are likely to reach as far as they can within the confines of EU law. However, there are also likely to be logistical challenges that will need to be hammered out which may cause tension between the three. With Angela Merkel agreeing to set up migrant transit centers to send migrants back to the countries they’ve come from, this will create pressures on Austria in particular as they figure out how to handle this new flux of refugees from Germany
  • The discussions will likely extend beyond the three countries to include other EU border states with refugee flows, like Greece, as well as countries outside the EU (in particular, North African states). According to the Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, their plan is to have a workable idea before the Innsbruck meeting of interior ministers this upcoming week, creating a tight deadline to resolve some of the thorniest issues in the EU’s fundamental right of movement (particularly within the Schengen area).

GRI Take: Given the complexity of the domestic politics in all three countries (as well as others like Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Poland), it is difficult to imagine a clear and concise plan coming out this week. However, the three governments may be able to signal at least what direction they intend to pursue.

Stay ahead of the news cycle with GRI. Drawing on expert knowledge and local sources, The Week Ahead provides analytical foresight on the consequences of key upcoming political developments.

This edition of The Week Ahead was produced by GRI Senior Analyst Brian Daigle and Senior Editor Luke Iott.

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