IT: RBG - What happens next? What should happen next?
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by Causes | 9.20.20
Welcome to Monday, September 21st, voters...
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday at the age of 87.
Ginsburg was the second woman to serve as a SCOTUS justice, and anchored the liberal wing of the high Court throughout her time on the bench.
Ginsburg’s views made her an icon of liberals, and she was fondly referred to as “The Notorious R.B.G” for her cutting opinions in dissent. She authored several landmark opinions during her time on the Court, including a decision overturning a male-only admission policy at Virginia Military Institute in U.S. v. Virginia.
On the Radar
RBG's death created a vacancy on the Court, and as the nation mourns her passing, it also considers the political and constitutional implications of that vacancy given the upcoming presidential election.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released a statement Friday night praising Ginsburg’s legacy, and emphasizing that, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
This contradicts statements made by McConnell in February 2016. Hours after Justice Antonin Scalia died during a hunting trip, and 8 months before that year's presidential election, McConnell said:
“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.”
Now, though voting has already begun in some states, McConnell is arguing that this vacancy is different because the GOP controls both the Senate and the White House.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden urged Republicans in the Senate to "please follow your conscience."
"[C]ool the flames that have been engulfing our country" by waiting to confirm her replacement until after the election.
Under the Radar
The "McConnell Rule"
The “McConnell rule” refers to the position taken by the senate majority leader in 2016 that the Senate shouldn't consider a SCOTUS nominee during an election year.
“Our view is this: Give the people a voice in the filling of this vacancy."
On February 22, 2016, McConnell spoke on the Senate floor, arguing the “American people are more than equipped to tackle” the question of replacing Scalia and that the Senate has the right to decline to consider a nomination.
At the time, McConnell called this principle the "Biden rule," referring to remarks then-Sen. Joe Biden made in 1992 where he urged the Senate president - if a hypothetical vacancy did appear - to delay the confirmation until after the election.
On March 16, 2016, Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to fill Scalia's vacancy. The same day, McConnell spoke on the Senate floor and reiterated his position that, “The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be.”
Read more about the "McConnell rule" here, then join the conversation:
And, in the End…
We close with some of our favorite quotes from RBG:
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