Judge dreadthe fight for Ruth Bader Ginsburgs seat


On Friday US Supreme Court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of cancer at the age of eighty seven. A candlelit vigil was held the following day outside the Supreme Court. Justice. GINSBURG was only the second woman appointed to the Supreme Court after being nominated by Bill Clinton in one thousand, nine hundred. I. In. Solemnly swear he was a champion of women's rights, and later in life she achieved restore status especially among young women. Now her death has set the stage for a divisive battle to replace her on the court. She was born in Brooklyn to an immigrant Father Dad was from Odessa in in Russia and to a first generation mother she was Jewish John. Fascination is the economist Washington correspondent and she was a trailblazer throughout her life. She was one of only nine women among five hundred men at Harvard law school, and when she arrived. Erwin griswold, who was then the Dean asked women in the class to stand up and justify taking a spot that could have gone to a man. She said the reason she took the spot is it was important that she understood her husband's work that would've made her husband Marty last Mardi was tax attorney well known in his own right he predeceased her but they had a famously loving and productive and equal partnership. She had a relentless work ethic in. Twenty five years in the Supreme Court she never missed today she's arrived four bouts of cancer before this fifth one killed her it was only after she got sick that she called by phone to oral arguments. I. Think People often have this idea that Supreme Court justices are sort of Stentorian wizards ready to shout down lawyer who they disagree with justice. GINSBURG was not like that she spoke very slowly very deliberately, which mirrors I think how she wrote and how she argued and how she thought she was meticulous. She was precise she she was not a showy justice. She came onto the court actually considered a moderate. There are a lot of people on the left who were upset when she was appointed because she was considered sort of two centrist. But as the court steadily moved rightward during her tenure, she has found herself the de facto leader of the courts liberal wing. Junk she spent a long time on the court. What did she achieve? Well, she was on the Supreme Court for Twenty seven years, and before that was on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which is widely considered the second most important court in America for for thirteen. So she was a judge for forty years I was age sixty when I was nominated in some people thought I was. Too Old for the job. Now I'm into my twenty-seventh starting my twenty-seventh year on the courts on one of the longest tenured. Justices. So if you worried about my age. It was unnecessary. Before that, she argued six cases before the Supreme Court and she was involved with thirty more as the first director of the US women's rights project. The first of those report court cases was in Reid versus Reid for which she wrote a brief arguing against the law in Ohio that preferred men to women in naming executive estates. She won that case in her first oral argument before the Supreme Court. She argued against the military policy that denied many husbands, officers, the same housing and medical benefits that automatically provided officers. Wise. The thinking was that women are somehow inherently more dependent on their husbands and husbands on their wise. Now, in that case, remember she effectively represented the husband she represented family but she represented the shoes argue in favor of the husband's benefits and she austin said that she was not arguing for women's rights she was arguing for the constitutional equality of men and women. Her death is come at a critical time in American politics. It's just six weeks away from the election. So what impact does that have? Well I think it's a little too early to say that definitively. It looks as though both sides are gearing up for battle, but they seem to be quietly circling each other in two thousand sixteen. The Supreme Court is central to Donald Trump's success I think because. There is an open seat in two thousand, Sixteen Justice Antonin Scalia died, and Mitch McConnell who is then the Senate minority leader rather than hold a hearing on Barack Obama's chosen replacement for Justice Scalia whose Merrick Garland he came up with a rationale disguises the principle which was that the causing election was coming up the speech beheld open. So the voters could decide now that had never been done before it was clearly a power play. It was a live sort of issue for Republicans impelled I think a lot of them who otherwise would have held donald trump at arm's length to decide that just had to vote for him this time I. Think Donald Trump is hoping for a similar effect this time, but he also wants to get the filled as quickly as possible. For Democrats donations had started pouring in, they have been pouring all weekend. Democrats seem riled up by this. I think in their view if Donald Trump managed to get a successor onto the court, this'll be the seconds effectively stolen seat right? The I was Neil Gorsuch. who was given the seat that was held open by Mitch McConnell, and the second would be whoever donald trump nominees to replace justice GINSBURG who gets the seat because Mitch McConnell did not follow the principle he set up in two thousand sixteen. John Do you think Senate. Republicans have the numbers to they have the votes to get in trump's nominee through before the election. Well this is the question on everyone's mind. Right so far Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski Republican senators from from Maine Alaska, had said that they will not vote for replacement before November third they have said that the president who wins on November third you choose the replacement now that only gets Democrats to forty nine and they need fifty one because in the case of a tie Mike. Pence cast the tiebreaking vote Lindsey Graham had previously said he would abide by Mitch McConnell's rule from twenty sixteen. He has now gone back on that apparently because he's angry Democrats didn't roll over for Brad Cavanaugh Chuck. Grassley, who's a senator from Iowa has also previously spoken in favor of McConnell's precedent. I, have a very hard time imagining that when push comes to shove, he'll stand by his. Word and so there really is nothing Democrats can do unless they can persuade two other Republicans to come join them, and if they can't persuade those Republicans and tip the balance what happens. Then what are the consequences for the years ahead on American politics? It's clear that what McConnell did in two thousand sixteen was a tremendous violation of norms I think it's not a good principal to. Uphold I think arguing that this is now how Supreme Court seats should be awarded that in an election year, you effectively have to hold the seat open until the end of the election is a bad precedent but I think there's a difference between saying Republicans should be consistent for the sake of consistency and Republicans should follow this principle because that's how court seat should be given out now. From the Democratic Base, there's been a tremendous push to threaten Republicans with repercussions if. Retake. The Senate and the president in that includes making Puerto Rico in Washington DC states, which would effectively at least in the near in medium-term Give Democrats four senators people have also been talking about expanding the court. So the reason they are Nice Ring Court justices is not constitutional legal. It's just a statute. So if they were minded and had a majority had a president who would sign it into law, they put eleven or thirteen justices on the supreme court. The problem with that for Democrats I think is that it sort of shifts the terms. Of the debate that they are now winning I think the way Joe, Biden has pitched. This campaign is on the one hand. You have the sort of chaotic destructive Donald Trump on the other. You have Joe Biden Palm known figure who will get us back to normal. If, he comes out and endorses expanding the court or State of DC in Puerto Rico, which to be clear he has not done. He is actually a opposed expanded from court but if he comes out if Democrats threaten this, then the debate becomes a lot murkier. Then it becomes the radical change that Joe Biden wants to do right take fifty, two states and putting thirteen on Supreme Court against Donald Trump will keep things as are I think that debate does not play out very well for Democrats. John Thank you very much time.

Coming up next