Biden says presidential winner should pick Ginsburg replacement
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[September 19, 2020]
By Jarrett Renshaw
NEW CASTLE, Del. (Reuters) - Democratic
presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Friday that "there is no doubt"
that the winner of November's presidential election should pick Supreme
Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's replacement.
"There is no doubt - let me be clear - that the voters should pick the
president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to
consider," Biden told reporters after learning of Ginsburg's death.
Biden's remarks appear to set the stage for a partisan fight over the
judiciary that could dominate the fewer than seven weeks remaining until
the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the Supreme Court since 1993, died on
Friday at age 87, giving President Donald Trump a narrow window in which
to expand the court's conservative majority with a third appointment
during a tough re-election fight.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he intends to act on any
nomination Trump makes. Biden's comments signal he and the party will
fight such a move.
McConnell's stance reverses the position he took four years ago, when he
refused to act on Democratic President Barack Obama's election-year
nomination of centrist appeals court judge Merrick Garland to replace
conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.
Some Democrats accused McConnell and his fellow Republicans of
"stealing" a Supreme Court seat by blocking Garland's appointment.
Biden, who was Obama's vice president, has said he wished Democrats had
been "a whole heck of a lot harder" on McConnell during that fight.
McConnell's explained his position in a statement on Friday, saying that
in 2016 the Senate and White House were controlled by different parties,
while now they are both controlled by Republicans. Democrats have called
McConnell's about-face hypocrisy.
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Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe
Biden speaks about the death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice
Ruth Bader Ginsburg shortly after Biden arrived from campaign events
in Minnesota at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware, U.S.,
September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
The Democratic former vice president learned of Ginsburg's death
while flying home from a campaign trip in Minnesota and he delivered
brief remarks to reporters at an airport in New Castle, Del.,
without taking questions. As a senator, Biden presided over
Ginsburg's confirmation hearings for the job in 1993.
"Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us," Biden said. "She has been
absolutely consistent and reliable and a voice for freedom and
opportunity for everyone."
Ginsburg's death could dramatically alter the ideological balance of
the court, which already had a 5-4 conservative majority, moving it
further to the right. The issue thrust courts into the center of an
election that had been dominated by the coronavirus and its public
health and economic consequences.
Trump on Sept. 9 unveiled a list of potential nominees to fill any
future Supreme Court vacancies in a move aimed at bolstering support
among conservative voters. Biden has pledged to name a Black woman
to the Supreme Court but so far has resisted unveiling his own list
(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw in New Castle, Delaware, and Trevor
Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis and William Mallard)
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