On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87. She had reportedly been battling pancreatic cancer and her cause of death stems from complications with the illness. In light of her passing, many lawmakers have released statements in tribute to the trailblazing judge. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is currently running for president, spoke out about the loss and noted that Ginsburg's vacancy on the Supreme Court should not be decided until after the election.
Biden spoke to reporters on Friday night about Ginsburg's death. In his statement, he not only mourned the Supreme Court judge, but he also stressed the importance of allowing Americans to vote for the next president before a nominee is chosen to replace Ginsburg. As you'll recall, the Republicans set this precedent back in 2016 following the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. "Tonight and in the coming days, we should focus on the loss of the justice, and her enduring legacy," Biden said, per CNN. "But 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." He continued to note that "this was the position ... the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election."
The presidential nominee explained that he hopes lawmakers will adhere to their own precedent now amidst this situation. "That is the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election is only 46 days off," he added. "I think the fastest justice ever confirmed was 47 days, and the average is closer to 70 days. And so they should do this with full consideration, and that is my hope and expectation, on what will happen."
As previously mentioned, in 2016, Supreme Court Justice Scalia died while President Barack Obama was still in office. While Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland to potentially take his place, leading Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said that they would refuse to advance Garland's nomination, as they said that they should wait until Americans vote on a new president.
McConnell seemingly changed his tune on this front. Shortly after Ginsburg died, he said that he wants to see President Donald Trump fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Not only is this in direct opposition to what McConnell said in 2016, but it also goes against one of Ginsburg's last requests. According to NPR, days before her death, Ginsburg told her granddaughter Clara Spera, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."