Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87 on Friday, raising questions just 46 days before the presidential election about whether the liberal and feminist icon will be replaced by President Donald Trump.
According to NPR, days before she died Ginsburg dictated a final statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Trump has appointed two conservative judges since he was elected president in 2016: Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Another Trump appointment would give conservatives a 6-3 majority.
When President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court 237 days before the 2016 election, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the pick, reasoning that during an election year the American people should decide.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made the same request after Ginsburg’s death was announced.
The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 18, 2020
Sound familiar? Here’s Mitch McConnell, a few hours after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016:
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
— Mitch McConnell, March 2016.
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) September 18, 2020
McConnell needs just 50 votes to confirm a Trump nominee this year, with Vice President Mike Pence acting as a tie-breaker. He has a 53 seat majority in the Senate, but a few of his Republican colleagues are on the record as opposing the nomination of a judge during an election year.
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