Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 on Friday due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Ginsburg was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and was the second woman to ever serve on the court after Sandra Day O’Connor. Her work for gender equality, such as launching the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project, and her sharp dissents earned her the nickname the ‘Notorious RBG’. A movie about her life, On the Basis of Sex was released in 2018 and earned over $30 million at the box office.
Ginsburg’s death will set up an intense political fight, having occurred less than two months out from the 2020 presidential election on November 3. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to entertain President Barack Obama’s SCOTUS nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, stating that ‘the Senate will continue to observe the “Biden rule” so that the American people have a voice in this momentous decision.’
However, when asked last year if he would fill a seat should a vacancy occur in 2020, McConnell replied with a grin, ‘Oh, we’d fill it’. McConnell’s camp contends that the difference is that the presidency and the Senate were controlled by different parties in 2016, whereas now they are both held by Republicans.
In a statement written prior to her death, Ginsburg wrote, ‘My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed’.
President Trump also recently added 20 new names to his previous list of potential SCOTUS picks, notably including Sens. Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and Ted Cruz.
Trump, speaking at a rally in Minnesota on Friday but seemingly unaware of Ginsburg’s passing, joked that he added Cruz to his list because he is the only person who could be unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
‘Ted’s the only man I know who could get 100 votes,’ Trump said.
When asked in July if Trump would nominate a replacement for a vacancy ahead of the election, chief of staff Mark Meadows replied, ‘I can’t imagine that if he had a vacancy on the Supreme Court that he would not very quickly make the appointment and look for the Senate to take quick action.’