Former President Obama released a statement responding to responding to the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, praising the late judge as a “warrior for gender equality” who showed “unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals.” He also called on the Senate not to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Ginsburg’s death until after the election.
In his statement, Obama urged Republicans to live up to the standard they set in 2016 when they refused to give a hearing to his final nominee, Merrick Garland.
The former president also nodded to Ginsburg’s reported statement to her granddaughter before her death that her “most fervent wish” was that her replacement be named by the next president. Ginsburg died earlier Friday. She was 87.
“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” Obama said.
“A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment,” he continued. “The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle.
“As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard,” Obama said.
The court’s decisions in the coming years “are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process,” the former president said.
Obama’s statement was a nod to the political ramifications of Ginsburg’s death 46 days before the election.
Hours after Ginsburg’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed to advance a nominee from President Trump.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored. My statement: https://t.co/Wa6YcT5gDi
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 19, 2020