In a blog post published on Medium, former President Barack Obama wrote an ode to the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The associate justice of the Supreme Court died Friday night from complications of pancreatic cancer. She was 87 years old.
“Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It’s about who we are — and who we can be,” Obama wrote.
He called her “a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist."
After offering her family condolences on behalf of him and Michelle Obama, the former president noted that Ginsburg “left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored.”
Just days before her death, Ginsburg told her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
She died less than 50 days before Election Day.
Ginsburg’s death leaves the Supreme Court with a 5-3 conservative majority. According to the U.S. Constitution, the president nominates Supreme Court justices with approval by the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously blocked Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in March 2016 after the death of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Republican Senate leaders said that because Scalia’s seat had become vacant during an election year, they would not consider a new nomination.
Obama’s nomination of Garland expired on Jan. 3, 2017, nearly 300 days after submission.
President Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacancy on Jan. 31, 2017. The Republican-majority Senate confirmed Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court on April 7, 2017.
“When Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” Obama wrote in his blog post. “A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”
He continued: “The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle. As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard.”
On Sept. 10, Trump released an updated list of people he would consider if a vacancy were to arise on the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a statement released Friday, McConnell said the Senate will move swiftly to confirm Ginsburg’s replacement.
“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year,” he wrote.
"By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
Read Obama’s full post here.
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