Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, the court announced. She was 87.
Her death has already created a political fight over the future of the court. Addressing the liberal justice’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday evening, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden praised Ginsburg as a “giant in the legal profession” and a “beloved figure,” saying in brief on-camera remarks Friday evening that people “should focus on the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy.”
“But there is no doubt, let me be clear that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” he added.
Trump Uses Death Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg To Stir Controversy
President Donald Trump said Saturday evening that he will choose a candidate to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat next week and his candidate will be a woman.
“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump said during a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Trump told rallygoers that Ginsburg’s “landmark rulings, fierce devotion to justice and her courageous battle against cancer inspire all Americans,” offering prayers to the justice’s family.
He also discussed how he has the power to fill her vacant seat.”So, Article 2 of the Constitution says that the President shall nominate justices of the Supreme Court. I don’t think it can be any more clear, can it?” Trump asked, prompting chants of “Fill that seat!” from the rally crowd.
The President told reporters earlier Saturday there about 45 people on his list, but he does have a “shortlist” for potential nominees.
There are loud whispers saying that Trump specifically has said he would “love to pick” federal appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who is a favorite among religious conservatives, but doubts he’ll secure support from the US Senate. Barrett is among Trump’s list of 20 potential conservative nominees he released earlier this month in an attempt to galvanize his base.
“We want to respect the process, and the process will move, I think it is going to move very quickly actually. I agree with the statement put out by Mitch McConnell. I agree with it actually 100%. I put out a very similar statement you saw, so I think we’re going to start the process extremely soon, and we’ll have a nominee very soon,” Trump told reporters before departing the White House on Saturday.
On Friday night the Senate Majority Leader said in a statement just hours after Ginsburg passed away that, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
“I think the choice will be next week, I do,” Trump later added.
Trump and McConnell spoke by phone Friday, a source familiar later confirmed to CNN on Saturday. Trump raised the names of Barrett and Barbara Lagoa as potential nominees during his call with McConnell, according to two people familiar with the conversation. Trump raised them unsolicited and McConnell didn’t weigh in on either or talk about his personal preferences, the sources said.
‘Democrats Will Retaliate’
Senate Democrats, lacking votes to stop President Donald Trump’s pick to fill the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat, are weighing an array of tactics to battle back — ranging from bringing the chamber to a screeching halt this year to pushing legislation to expand the court if they win the majority in the fall.
Democrats began discussing their options on Saturday, with senators all vowing a furious fight to keep the seat vacant until next year when a new Senate convenes and when Joe Biden may occupy the White House. And while no specific course of action was detailed, Democrats said they were united on this: They planned to engage in an all-out battle to stop the nomination in its tracks by pressuring four Republicans to break ranks.
“Mitch McConnell believes that this fight is over. What Mitch McConnell does not understand is this fight has just begun,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, speaking at a Ginsburg vigil on Saturday.
If the Democrats ultimately fail to stop the nominee, they are indicating that they may push legislation to expand the Supreme Court by adding additional seats to retaliate against what they view as Republicans’ heavy-handed tactics.
It’s an option that has picked up increased interest in the wake of Ginsburg’s death — and one that Democratic leaders are not ruling out.
“We basically have kept options open,” Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin told CNN’s Newsroom anchor Ana Cabrera Saturday night when asked about adding more seats to the court.
“We’d rather see this go through the regular process that Senator (Mitch) McConnell announced four years ago and that all of the Republicans stepped forward and said that we believe in this approach: We don’t fill vacancies on the Supreme Court in the last year of a president’s term,” Durbin said in reference to GOP senators’ 2016 sentiments on filling Supreme Court vacancies.
McConnell vowed Friday that whomever Trump nominates to replace Ginsburg will get a vote on the Senate floor, arguing the situation is different now than in 2016 because Republicans control the Senate and White House.