Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Friday that President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the seat left vacant by late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will get a vote on the Senate floor.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said in a statement.
The Supreme Court said in a statement on Sept. 18 that Ginsburg, 87, passed away in the evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington from complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
“The Senate and the nation mourn the sudden passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life,” McConnell said.
Days before her death, Ginsburg dictated a wish to her granddaughter that she will “not be replaced until a new president is installed,” according to NPR. Her wish will figure in the debate that’s likely to ensue if President Donald Trump goes forward with appointing a new Supreme Court justice before the election on Nov. 3.
McConnell has previously said that he would move forward with approving a justice should an opening come up ahead of Election Day.
Trump, apparently unaware of the news of Ginsburg’s death, twice brought up the importance of appointing a Supreme Court justice as he spoke at a rally in Minnesota. Some people shouted that Ginsburg has passed by the president didn’t appear to have caught what was said.
“We will nominate judges and justices who will interpret the constitution as written,” Trump said. “That’s why the Supreme Court is so important. The next president will get one, two, three, or four Supreme Court justices.”
“Think of that, that will totally change when you talk about life, when you talk about Second Amendment, when you talk about things that are so important to you.”
Trump recently announced a list of potential Supreme Court picks, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.)
“Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice is the most important decision an American president can make,” Trump said at the White House in Washington.
The president has already appointed two Supreme Court Justices, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. Kavanaugh’s confirmation turned into a political spectacle after Senate Democrats late in the process unveiled a complaint from a woman who accused Kavanaugh of misconduct. The woman’s allegations proved unsubstantiated and Kavanaugh was confirmed, but not before a dramatic Senate hearing which captured the attention of the nation.
Trump has warned of a dismal future if the Supreme Court ever included a majority of Democrat-appointed justices, claiming they would “erase the Second Amendment, silence political speech, require taxpayers to fund extreme late-term abortion.”
“In the recent past, many of our most treasured freedoms including religious liberty, free speech, and the right to keep and bear arms, have been saved by a single vote on the United States Supreme Court,” he said.
A private service for Ginsburg will be held at Arlington National Ceremony in Virginia, the Supreme Court said in a statement.
“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her—a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”
Ginsburg spent her final years on the bench as the unquestioned leader of the court’s left wing and became something of a rock star to her admirers. Young women especially seemed to embrace her, calling her the “Notorious RBG” on Twitter.
Her health issues included five bouts with cancer beginning in 1999, falls that resulted in broken ribs, insertion of a stent to clear a blocked artery, and assorted other hospitalizations after she turned 75.
She resisted calls by some liberals to retire during former President Barack Obama’s presidency at a time when Democrats held the Senate and a replacement with similar views could have been confirmed.