On Friday, September 18, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87. She was a feminist champion and one of the Supreme Court’s most prominent members, a relentless champion of progressive values and justice for all. Shortly before her death, she told her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Yet, hours after her death, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell indicated he plans to hold a vote on Ginsburg’s replacement this year.
Recall that after Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016, McConnell refused to proceed with confirming Obama-nominated candidate Merrick Garland. “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,” he stated.
Justice Scalia died 237 days before the election. Justice Ginsburg died 46 days before the election. Based on the “Garland rule”, “McConnell rule”, “Biden rule”, whatever you want to call it, the Senate should not confirm a Supreme Court justice to replace Ginsburg until after the next presidential inauguration.
Trump’s shortlist of potential SCOTUS picks included Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) and a litany of young, staunch conservatives who would tip the Supreme Court to the far right for generations. The stakes could not be higher. Donald Trump is openly embracing autocracy. The Supreme Court will rule on the Affordable Care Act’s fate a week after the election and will hear cases on reproductive rights, labor rights, immigration, LGBTQ rights, and a slew of other life-altering issues. The Senate must wait to confirm a new justice until after the 2020 election.