Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Don’t expect a government check anytime soon Trump appointees stymie recommendations to boost minority voting: report Obama’s first presidential memoir, ‘A Promised Land,’ set for November release MORE on Friday called on the Senate not to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgDemocrats, advocates seethe over Florida voting rights ruling Trump’s Supreme Court list reveals influence of Clarence Thomas President Nancy Pelosi? Don’t underestimate what she might do in office MORE, urging Republicans to live up to the standard they set in 2016 by refusing to give a hearing to Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandTop GOP senator calls for Biden to release list of possible Supreme Court picks Biden agenda hinges on Senate majority The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association – Biden VP possible next week; Meadows says relief talks ‘miles apart’ MORE.
Obama, in a statement responding to Ginsburg’s death, praised the late judge as a “warrior for gender equality” who showed “unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals.”
The former president also nodded to Ginsburg’s reported statement to her granddaughter, which is 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.
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
Obama’s statement was a nod to the political ramifications of Ginsburg’s death less than 50 days before Election Day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell focuses on confirming judicial nominees with COVID-19 talks stalled McConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by ‘downplaying progress’ on election security Warren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt MORE (R-Ky.) said in a statement he will advance a nominee from President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president’s policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is ‘unwise’ Cast of ‘Parks and Rec’ reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE.
Trump, who was on stage at a campaign rally in Minnesota when news broke that Ginsburg had died, has not commented on whether he plans to put forward a nominee. Sources close to the administration expect Trump to do so, however.
Democrats and progressive outside groups quickly called on Ginsburg’s seat to be held open until next year, similar to McConnell’s decision to not hold a vote for Garland. Obama nominated Garland after the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February 2016 but Republicans held it open until 2017 when they confirmed Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchConservatives see glaring omission on Trump’s Supreme Court shortlist Cruz says he wouldn’t accept Supreme Court nomination Trump’s Supreme Court list reveals influence of Clarence Thomas MORE, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee.
“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,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell accuses Democrats of sowing division by ‘downplaying progress’ on election security Warren, Schumer introduce plan for next president to cancel ,000 in student debt Schumer lashes out at Trump over ‘blue states’ remark: ‘What a disgrace’ MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a tweet, reusing McConnell’s exact words from 2016.