Before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death on Friday, Sept. 18, the feminist powerhouse told her granddaughter her last wish. With a Supreme Court vacancy left in her wake, many are wondering if President Donald Trump will attempt to nominate a new Justice before the 2020 election, despite the Senate's previous refusal to vote on President Obama's replacement nominee in 2016. As Obama and Joe Biden are both in agreement that the Supreme Court should honor this previous decision with consistency, Ruth Bader Ginsburg's final statement on who will replace her made it clear what she wished in the event of her death.
According to NPR, in the days leading up to her death, Ginsburg told granddaughter Clara Spera her final wish. "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," said the late Justice. Many progressives are arguing for her request to be honored, especially since the GOP refused to vote on Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, in a similar situation in 2016. After Justice Antonin Scalia died at the beginning of 2016, Senate Republicans argued that the Senate shouldn't fill a Supreme Court opening during an election year before swearing in a new president. As many hope for consistency, President Donald Trump has already commented on filling the spot, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Trump's nominee will get a vote. McConnell, however, was the one who led the block of Garland's vote, and repeatedly cited what he and the other Republicans called the "Biden rule."
Per CNN, Biden's 1992 Senate floor speech, during a period when there were no high court vacancies, is what would become the GOP's "Biden rule." In the speech, he said, "once the political season is under way, and it is, action on a Supreme Court nomination must be put off until after the election campaign is over."
Considering the 2016 move, Biden and Obama have both commented on the need for consistency with the 2020 presidential election, which is only two months away. Obama's statement about Ginsburg's death weighed in on the situation. "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," he wrote. "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," said Obama.
Biden also commented on the issue on Twitter on Sept. 18. "Let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Trump's tweet on Saturday, Sept. 19 made his viewpoint on the matter clear. He is seeking to nominate someone for Ginsburg's spot, despite the inconsistency with the past election. "We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices," wrote Trump. "We have this obligation, without delay!"
While the decision about her replacement remains unclear for now, one can only hope Ginsburg's last wish is honored. It's important to remember her legacy and lasting impression on American life. Throughout her life, Ginsburg battled discrimination and spent much of her career championing gender equality and women's rights through the laws she fought to have passed.