The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just six weeks before the election cast an immediate spotlight on the crucial high court vacancy, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell quickly vowing to bring to a vote whoever President Donald Trump nominates.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden vigorously disagreed, declaring that “voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice to consider.”
McConnell, who sets the calendar in the U.S. Senate and has made judicial appointments his priority, declared unequivocally in a statement not long after Ginsburg’s death was announced that Trump’s nominee would receive a confirmation vote in the chamber. In 2016, McConnell refused to consider President Barack Obama’s choice for the high court months ahead of the election, eventually preventing a vote.
The impending clash over the vacant seat — when to fill it and with whom — is sure to significantly affect the stretch run of the presidential race, further stirring passions in a nation already reeling from the pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 people, left millions unemployed and heightened partisan tensions and anger.
Trump, in brief remarks to reporters after learning of Ginsburg’s death, called her “an amazing woman who led an amazing life.” He had continued with a campaign speech in Minnesota for about an hour and a half after the nation — as well as aides and many in his audience with cell phones — had learned of her death. He seemed surprised when he spoke with reporters afterward, saying he did not know she had died. Read more…