Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden gave a speech on Sunday honoring the legacy of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, while also urging Senate Republicans not to replace her seat until after the election.
Biden, who called Ginsburg an “icon” and a “matriarch” in his remarks, said that as a nation, the United States should “heed her final call to us.” Ginsburg reportedly dictated a statement to her granddaughter, Clara Spera, while on her deathbed: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” It’s not clear if that meant until after the November election is over or if President Donald Trump is reelected and leaves office in 2025.
“There is so much at stake—the right to health care, clean air and water, and equal pay for equal work. The rights of voters, immigrants, women, and workers,” Biden said inside the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Biden said the decision by Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to “jam a lifetime appointment” to the Supreme Court is “the last thing we need in this moment.”
Democrats are threatening to expand the Supreme Court and pack it with their own judges if the GOP moves forward with filling the vacancy.
While acknowledging that Trump and McConnell would act out their plans, Biden noted that his plea was directed to Senate Republicans and Americans.
“So I appeal to those few Senate Republicans—the handful who will really decide what happens,” Biden said. “Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and senator McConnell have created. Don’t go there.”
Notably, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Saturday that the Senate should not vote on a nominee to replace Ginsburg before the November election. Collins said Trump can nominate a replacement with his constitutional authority and has no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee starting the reviewing process.
Biden also said that his first choice for the Supreme Court “will make history as the first African American woman Justice.”
The former vice president said that if Trump wins reelection, the Senate should move on his selection and weigh his nominee fairly.
“But if I win the election, President Trump’s nomination should be withdrawn,” Biden added.
A day earlier, Trump said he would likely nominate a female next week to fill the vacancy left by Ginsburg, a member of the court’s liberal wing who died at 87 years old on Sept. 18.
“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump said during a rally on Saturday night in North Carolina.
Trump also said the process will be started “extremely soon” and that it would move very quickly.
Ginsburg died due to complications from pancreatic cancer, the court said. She was surrounded by her family at her home in Washington.
Ginsburg had dealt with a number of health issues in recent months, having been hospitalized for various issues several times. She is survived by two children, Jane Carol Ginsburg and James Steven Ginsburg, and four grandchildren.