Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died

By Fernando Alfonso III, Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 8:10 a.m. ET, September 20, 2020
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9:33 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Mourners are holding a candlelight vigil outside of the Supreme Court

From CNN's David Williams

Kalina Newman
Kalina Newman

Kalina Newman said she was having dinner with her boyfriend in Alexandria, Virginia, when she got the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. She rushed to the Supreme Court when she heard.

“I immediate got my meal packed up, and we went to the grocery store to pick up flowers,” Newman told CNN.

People had already put out signs and candles when they got there.

“As soon as I saw the candles and felt how peaceful it was, I began to cry,” she said.

Newman is the Eastern Regional Communications Coordinator for the AFL-CIO.

“As a young woman with a passion for progressive politics, she taught me to never take no for an answer,” she said when asked what Ginsburg meant to her.

Kalina Newman
Kalina Newman

10:00 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Trump says Ginsburg "was an amazing woman who led an amazing life"

From CNN's NikkI Carvajal 

President Donald Trump reacts to the news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the tarmac of Bemidji Regional Airport after addressing supporters during a "Great American Comeback" rally at in Bemidji, Minnesota, on September 18.
President Donald Trump reacts to the news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the tarmac of Bemidji Regional Airport after addressing supporters during a "Great American Comeback" rally at in Bemidji, Minnesota, on September 18. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump appeared to hear the news about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing from reporters. 

"Just now?" he responded, when asked about her death. 

"She led an amazing life. What else can you say?" Trump said. "She was an amazing woman whether you agree or not she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life." 

After his comments, Trump walked up the stairs to board Air Force One. Trump had been holding a rally in Minnesota when news of Ginsburg's death broke.

Watch the moment:

9:38 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Ginsburg's high school: Her legacy will live on in our hallways

From CNN's Alisha Ebrahimji

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s high school, James Madison High School in Brooklyn, just posted about the late Supreme Court justice. 

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of JMHS alum Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her advocacy and dedication to civil liberties, and her tremendous legacy, will live on in the hallways of Madison through our Law Institute," the school wrote.

 Here's the full post:

 

9:21 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

At least 4 GOP senators have said they will oppose a vote for a new justice before the election

From CNN's Jamie Gangel, Manu Raju and Lauren Fox

Susan Collins wears a mask while participating in a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 12 in Washington.
Susan Collins wears a mask while participating in a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on May 12 in Washington. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Here is a list of four Republicans senators who have said they will oppose a vote before the election:

  1. Maine Sen. Susan Collins told the New York Times, “I think that’s too close, I really do."
  2. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski in September said, "Fair is fair," and she would not vote to replace RBG before the election."
  3. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in October 2018 said, "If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump's term, and the primary process has started, we'll wait to the next election. And I've got a pretty good chance of being the Judiciary [Chairman]. Hold the tape." 
  4. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said in July he would follow the Biden rule, "I'm just following what was established by the Biden Rule in 1986 and then emphasized by him in 1992... They set the pattern. I didn't set the pattern. But it was very legitimate that you can't have one rule for Democratic presidents and another rule for Republican presidents."
9:25 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Connecticut governor orders flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Ginsburg

Gov. Ned Lamont speaks at the 19th annual 9/11 Memorial ceremony at Sherwood Island State Park Thursday, September 9, in Westport, Connecticut.
Gov. Ned Lamont speaks at the 19th annual 9/11 Memorial ceremony at Sherwood Island State Park Thursday, September 9, in Westport, Connecticut. Brad Harrigan/Hartford Courant/AP

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont directed US and state flags across to be lowered to half-staff “immediately and remain at half-staff until sunset on the date of interment, which has not yet been determined," he said in a statement following the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the US flag, all other flags, including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise, should also be lowered during this same duration of time,” Lamont said, calling Ginsburg “a fierce and fiery champion for fairness and equality for all.”

Elsewhere around the northeast: New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called Ginsburg “an inspiration to countless young women and girls across our nation, and around the globe.”

We have been made a better nation, and a better people, through her reasoned approach and sharp-minded opinions,” Murphy said.

 

9:23 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Ginsburg planned to retire under Hillary Clinton as first woman president

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, right, listens as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, in Washington.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, right, listens as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks on Wednesday, October 30, 2019, in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg planned to retire under Hillary Clinton if she was elected president, NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg said this evening.

"She loved her job," said Totenberg. "She had planned, in fact, to retire and be replaced by a nominee of the first woman president because she really thought Hillary Clinton would be elected."

"Fate dealt her... the cards not that way and she just soldiered on," Totenberg added.

Totenberg went on to report that Ginsberg had expressed that wish in a dictated statement her granddaughter, Clara Spera, just days before her death.

"My most fervent wish is, that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," Ginsburg said in the statement, according to Totenberg.

"She knew what was to come, that her death will have profound consequences for the court and the country," said Totenberg, speaking with CNN's anchor Anderson Cooper this evening.

9:13 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Trump finishes his rally with no mention of Ginsburg

From CNN's Allie Malloy 

President Donald Trump speaks during a "Great American Comeback" rally at Bemidji Regional Airport in Bemidji, Minnesota, on September 18.
President Donald Trump speaks during a "Great American Comeback" rally at Bemidji Regional Airport in Bemidji, Minnesota, on September 18. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump wrapped his Minnesota rally after speaking for 114 minutes with no mention of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Trump did not appear to know that Ginsburg had died as the news broke after he had already taken the stage. 

The pool is staging under Air Force One now for a possible gaggle. 

9:15 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Ginsburg said she didn't want to be replaced on Supreme Court "until a new president is installed"

According to a statement obtained by NPR, Ruth Bader Ginsburg told her granddaughter just days before her death that her "most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Ginsburg died surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, DC, the court said. A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.

Ginsburg had suffered from five bouts of cancer, most recently a recurrence in early 2020 when a biopsy revealed lesions on her liver. She had said that chemotherapy was yielding "positive results" and that she was able to maintain an active daily routine.

Hear more:

9:09 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Ginsburg's vacancy will quickly become political  — here's five things to watch

From CNN Political Director David Chalian

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's vacancy will quickly become political.

Here are five things to watch:

  1. A partisan fight. There will be a battle over President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pushing this through when Democrats are currently in a strong position to win the White House and the Senate in November. This battle — which will start even before there is a nominee —  will rile up the bases of both parties like never before.
  2. The Senate math. Are Republicans in lock step with moving ahead with replacement before election results are clear?  Particularly vulnerable senators like Susan Collins in Maine, Cory Gardner in Colorado and Martha McSally in Arizona. And what about Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who has bucked Trump in the past? 
  3. Trump vs. Biden. Does this supplant coronavirus as the thing the election becomes about — at least for a few of the remaining weeks left — and does that help Trump pull closer to Biden?
  4. McConnell is on the ballot in Kentucky. Does his Democratic opponent, Amy McGrath, become an even bigger progressive focus now?  
  5. Beware the difference between the pre-election period and the lame duck session. For all the parsing of language — past and future — that will take place in the days ahead, be sure to pay attention to which senators say no hearings or vote should occur before the election vs. those who say the election results should dictate how the process moves forward.