RBG’s death set off a pattern of 'distrust and discord' that still plagues the Supreme Court today
Judge Amy Coney Barrett (screengrab)

Although Democrats have won the popular vote in seven of the United States' last eight presidential elections, they have had terrible luck with the U.S. Supreme Court — which is now controlled by a 6-3 majority of GOP-appointed justices. One-third of the High Court consists of justices who were appointed by former President Donald Trump: Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

The Robert Court's Democratic critics have complained that Trump obviously had no interest in choosing nuanced Republican justices like Sandra Day O'Connor and Anthony Kennedy (two retired Ronald Reagan appointees). He was only interested in far-right ideologues and social conservatives.

Just as Democrats and abortion rights activists feared, that 6-3 majority overturned Roe v. Wade with its 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Public confidence in the Court, in poll after poll, has continued to sink since that widely protested ruling.

Joan Biskupic, CNN's Supreme Court analyst, examines the condition of the High Court in her forthcoming book "Nine Black Robes: Inside the Supreme Court's Drive to the Right and Its Historic Consequences" (which has an April 4 release date on Amazon). CNN has published, in article form, an excerpt from Biskupic's book. And the excerpt details the role that the appointments of Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett played in Roe's demise.

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After liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at 87, died on September 18, 2020, Trump wasted no time nominating Barrett as her replacement. The former president was voted out of office less than two months later.

Biskupic explains, "Within days of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's memorial service in late September 2020, boxes of her files and other office possessions were moved down to a dark, windowless theater on the Supreme Court's ground floor…. The abrupt mandate from Chief Justice John Roberts' administrative team to clear out Ginsburg's office and make way for the next justice broke from the common practice of allowing staff sufficient time to move and providing a new justice with temporary quarters if needed while permanent chambers were readied…. The confirmation of then-President Donald Trump's chosen successor, Indiana-based U.S. Appeals Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, was as much a fait accompli at the Court as in the political sphere. That behind-the-scenes drama and internal tensions over cases that followed, accelerated by all three Trump appointees, led to a new level of distrust and discord among the justices that lingers today."

According to Biskupic, the High Court's "internal negotiations" in Dobbs "were tightly tied to Ginsburg's death and the succession of Barrett."

"By late 2021," Biskupic recalls, "it was becoming clear that (Justice Clarence) Thomas, (Justice Samuel) Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett wanted to end Roe, irrespective of what they had told senators about adherence to precedent during their confirmation hearings. Barrett had been especially skillful in deflecting questions about her personal opposition to abortion during her hearing, even as then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, declared, 'This is the first time in American history that we’ve nominated a woman who's unashamedly pro-life and embraces her faith without apology.'"