President Trump was speaking at a campaign rally Friday night when news broke that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. Earlier in the evening, before the news broke, Trump had been speaking on the importance of the next pick for the nation’s high court.
The President responded that Ginsburg was “an amazing woman” who “led an amazing life.”
Ginsburg, who was 87, died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer after a two year battle with underlying illnesses that often kept her away from the court. Some had suggested that Ginsburg’s health was so poor, and her attendance so irregular, that it would have been appropriate for her to have stepped down earlier. Democrat pundits and leaders had stressed in media reports during the last year that her continued presence on the court was important in an attempt to wait out the election, hoping for a Democrat president to nominate a replacement after January 2021.
But on Friday night, after news of her death broke, Trump switched switched from his campaign speech to an impromptu praise of her as a human.
“She led an amazing life, what else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agreed or not. She was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I’m actually saddened to hear that,” Trump said.
Ginsburg, who had become a hero of the left for her leadership of the liberal wing of the court, was not actually the first woman on the court. Over the last several years, several documentaries and movies had been released which praised her barrier-breaking career.
But Ginsburg was not the first woman, nor the most impressive on the court. Historians say that title and record breaking achievement goes to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a Republican, who was the first woman to sit on the bench. O’Connor was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981 and presided over numerous ruling for the court and as a conservative helped shape the court well into the 21st Century.
That legacy will be on the minds of conservative voters more than usual with the passing of Ginsberg.
As Trump was speaking at the rally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a statement saying he would hold a vote on anyone Trump nominates to replace Ginsburg, potentially shifting the ideological balance on the court.
There would need to be 51 votes in favor of Trump’s nominee, giving Republicans an extremely thin margin. Two Republican senators — Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa — have said they would not vote for a nominee before the election.
Trump this week has been stressing the importance of the Supreme Court as an election issue and released a list 20 additional names for consideration for the court. Combined with the list of those under consideration for the last a, that brings the number to over 40.
“The next president will get one, two, three or four Supreme Court justices,” Trump said. “That will totally change when you talk about life, when you talk about the Second Amendment,” he said at the rally.
Many people believe that the next nominee should be a woman, especially since they will be replacing one of three women on the court.
President Trump on Wednesday listed 20 additional candidates he would consider for the Supreme Court if he’s re-elected, including three Republican senators.
But court watchers may now be focussing on the women on the list.
Those include prominent White House lawyer Kate Todd.
Other female names include federal appeals judges, including 9th Circuit Judge Bridget Bade, 11th Circuit appeals Judge Barbara Lagoa, and 4th Circuit Judge Allison Rushing.
Federal district judges Martha Pacold of northern Illinois and Sarah Pitlyk of eastern Missouri are on the new list. One name from the previous list under high consideration is 7th Circuit judge Amy Coney Barrett, just to name a few.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice