Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, has died from complications of pancreatic cancer, the court announced on Friday. The liberal icon and feminist legal pioneer was 87.
In a statement, Chief Justice John Roberts mourned her passing, saying, “Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature.”
Ginsburg’s death immediately sets up an intense battle for the future of the high court just 45 days before the presidential election, leaving open the possibility that President Donald Trump could appoint his third conservative justice to sit on the nine-person court.
Some top Democratic lawmakers are already vowing that won’t happen, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said on Twitter that the vacancy should not be filled until “we have a new president.” Schumer’s tweet was a not-so-subtle swipe at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who very notably avowed four years ago that Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat should not be filled until after the 2016 election, which it wasn’t.
The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.
—Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 18, 2020
In a statement, McConnell countered by saying that Trump’s nominee “will receive a vote” on the Senate floor.