The announcement that supreme court justice and progressive icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg died this evening has left many Americans shocked and grieving, and has launched an intense political battle within the US senate that could determine the basic rights of millions of Americans for decades to come.
I’m handing over our live politics coverage to our colleagues in Australia, who will continue to cover the reaction to Ginsburg’s death. Here’s summary of some of the key developments of this evening so far:
- Ginsburg, the second woman to serve on the supreme court, died tonight in Washington, from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87.
- Trump will nominate a replacement for Ginsburg, and the Republican-controlled senate has the power to confirm that nominee to the supreme court.
- But Republicans have only a slight voting majority, raising questions about whether they have the votes to push through a controversial nominee just weeks before a presidential election. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz suggested they should move fast. Potential Senate swing votes, like Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, will face immense pressure as Republicans count their potential votes.
- Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell released a statement saying that Trump’s nominee would get a vote in the Senate, but did not say exactly when. McConnell did make clear that he would ignore his own argument from 2016, when he suggested that confirming a president’s supreme court nominee months before a presidential election was inappropriate.
- It’s very possible that Republicans may have enough votes to push through a nominee of their choice before Election Day. But there’s also the risk of electoral backlash from liberal voters if they do so. McConnell might decide it’s more strategic to try to push through a Republican justice after Nov. 3, but before a new president is sworn in, should Trump lose to Biden.
- What will happen if the supreme court is left to decide a crucial case about the outcome of the 2020 election with only eight justices, instead of nine (and with a 5-3 conservative majority) is also a pressing question.
- Ginsburg made her own position clear, telling her granddaughter this week: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
Will Senate Republicans try to confirm a conservative supreme court justice immediately? Or will they wait until after the election, but before the inauguration, and try to push through a conservative just then?
Here’s what we know about what options Republicans are considering tonight:
Yes, Ginsburg’s death is a powerful opportunity for Trump, for Republicans, and for people who hope to make abortion illegal and advance other rightwing causes:
But the huge conservative victory of pushing through another Trump appointee could also backfire on election day, some Republicans are warning:
McConnell’s statement tonight pledging that Trump’s nominee will get a vote doesn’t necessarily mean a vote before election day, though Senator Ted Cruz is pushing for that:
And then there’s the question: what happens if there’s some kind of election crisis the supreme court is asked to decide, and it only has eight justices?
‘A person who dies on Rosh Hashanah is a person of great righteousness’
The political battle over replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg began barely an hour after the announcement of her death.
The outcome of that battle will have profound, even life-or-death consequences, and affect hundreds of millions of Americans for decades.
But many Americans are also mourning Ginsburg herself: the “notorious RBG,” Jewish feminist icon and inspiration.
NPR’s Nina Totenberg visited Ginsburg today before her death:
SCOTUSblog on Ginsburg as a fighter and feminist icon in the legal world
The note RGB’s husband left her when he died
The Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said that the Republican-controlled senate should wait until after the election to confirm Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement on the supreme court, following the precedent Republicans set in 2016.
The Republican Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has already announced that Republicans will do whatever they want and Trump’s nominee will get a swift vote.
‘She’s dead? Wow.’ Reporters inform Trump Ginsburg has died
NBC News has the moment on video:
Average number of days to confirm a supreme court justice: 69.6
Days until the 2020 presidential election: 45.
Romney spokesperson denies claim that he won’t support a nominee now
The Utah senator is seen as a potential Republican swing vote, part of a small handful of Republicans who might prevent the confirmation of a Trump appointee until after the November election.
But his spokesperson just called a claim that he would not support a nominee until after inauguration day “grossly false”.
Ted Cruz: confirm a conservative replacement for Ginsburg before election day
The Republican Senator Ted Cruz was added to Trump’s supreme court nominee short list earlier this month. Trump quipped at a campaign rally tonight that Trump would get an easy nomination to the court, with backing from even Senate Democrats, since they would all be so eager to get Cruz out of the Senate.
The crowd of mourners in front of the supreme court is growing
Read the original article at The Guardian