SCOTUS odds: Will Trump go with the obvious, or a Cuban suprise?


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG) has sadly passed away at the age of 87, giving in to her battle with pancreatic cancer at last. While political pundits and lawmakers battle over exactly how a Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) nomination process should work in an election year, we have a shortlist of potential candidates, with odds from PredictIt.

There are exactly two markets available for the next nominee, and the first is pretty lopsided. When asked if Trump’s next nominee would be a woman, punters have overwhelming voted yes with their dollars, setting a price of $0.97. That’s a huge change from the $0.23 that yes sat at before RBG’s death was announced. And it makes a lot of sense, as Trump has specifically said he would choose a woman.

So who will be the nominee? Amy Coney Barrett leads the odds at $0.55. She should be a prohibitive favorite, as Trump has previously said “I’m saving her for Ginsburg,” when discussing when he would nominated Barrett in 2019. She is a very conservative pick with controversial religious views, and the only reason not to nominate her is if she would cause Trump’s election chances to worsen.

Barbara Lagoa, currently priced at $0.42, has emerged as Barrett’s primary rival for the nomination. While still very conservative, she brings the added benefits of being of Cuban descent with an upbringing in Florida. If Trump is nervous about his chances to carry that state, nominating a Cuban-American could help carry an important demographic and potentially win him the election.

Also on the considered list of nominees are Allison Rushing ($0.05), Joan Larsen ($0.03) and Allison Eid ($0.01). Rushing comes in as a favorite of evangelicals, Larsen as a former clerk of Antonin Scalia (with whom she had disagreements) and Eid works as a more moderate choice, perhaps. But the reason all three are long shots is pretty clear: They don’t help Trump that much, and they don’t do anything to ‘Own the Libs.’

Disappointingly, there are no markets or outcomes for what might happen if the Democrats manage to hold up the nomination until after the election, assuming a Biden win. The Republicans did this in 2016, preventing Barrack Obama nominee Merrick Garland from receiving a vote before Trump could win the election. There’s only 42 days until the election, and the fastest a nominee has been voted in in the past 40 years was RBG herself at 50 days. It’s totally possible that some hijinx prevent a Trump nominee from being seated.

On a site where I can still bet my money on Hillary Clinton winning the 2020 presidential election, why can’t I also bet on her to be the SCOTUS nominee?