Late Friday, the news broke that longtime U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had passed away due to complications with cancer, which she had fought against, in various forms, for awhile. On Friday night, within hours, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — a craven political opportunist in just about every sense, it seems — issued a statement insisting that President Donald Trump’s presumed eventual nominee would get a vote on the floor of the Senate. Voting is already underway in the 2020 presidential election, and in a statement after Ginsburg’s death, former President Barack Obama offered a different vision. He called on the Senate to wait until after the election, which would follow a principle that the GOP themselves made up.
Obama experienced this made-up principle firsthand. After Antonin Scalia died, Senate Republicans, led by McConnell, refused to hold a vote on Obama’s nomination for a replacement. Donald Trump eventually got to fill that seat. In this case, Obama shared:
‘Four and a half years ago, 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. 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. 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 $$$: Since Mitch McConnell released his statement on holding a vote on President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, ActBlue used for Democrats' online fundraising has brought in more than $30 million in about 12 hours overnight.
— Sarah Ewall-Wice (@EwallWice) September 19, 2020
As the court stands at present, there are eight members, meaning that there is a potential for a tie if the court deals with any particularly controversial issues in coming months — and with the presidential election just around the corner and Trump already talking about potentially challenging the results, that’s a real possibility. Before she died, Ginsburg told her granddaughter that she wanted her seat to be filled after the next presidential election.
For those unaware: Schumer below is quoting what McConnell said in 2016. https://t.co/5zX1OUF8Lz
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 19, 2020
‘The questions before the Court now and in the coming years — with decisions that will determine whether or not our economy is fair, our society is just, women are treated equally, our planet survives, and our democracy endures — are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process.’
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored. My statement: https://t.co/Wa6YcT5gDi
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 19, 2020
Check out Twitter’s response below: