Barack Obama Urges the Senate to Respect Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Final Wish in a Powerful Statement
Days before her death, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a "fervent wish" to not be replaced until after the upcoming election, and former president Barack Obama is making sure her final aspiration becomes a reality.
In a Medium post shared hours after her death, Obama honored Ginsburg's legacy, and urged the Senate to do the same when it comes time to vote for her replacement. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals,” Obama wrote. “That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored.”
He went on to explain how his own nomination for the high court, Merrick Garland, was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2016, after conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died. Back then, McConnell said it was too close to the election to fill the vacant spot, but now that the tables are turned in the Republican party's favor, he shared that President Trump's nominee for Ginsburg's replacement "will receive a vote on the floor."
"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," Obama explained. "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."
He continued, "As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard. 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."
On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted that he plans to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg "without delay," adding that it's his "obligation" to the American people.
"We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices," he wrote. "We have this obligation, without delay!"
Last week, Trump released an updated list of 20 potential (conservative-leaning) Supreme Court nominees. Top contenders include judges Amy Coney Barrett, Britt Grant, Amul Thapar, and Steven Colloton.
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