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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9:25 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Trump: "Today, our Nation mourns the loss of a titan of the law"

From CNN's Jim Acosta and Paul LeBlanc

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted the following statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Trump's first comments on Ginsburg's death came after a rally in Minnesota on Friday night where he appeared to hear the news for the first time from reporters. "Just died?" he responded, when asked about her death.

"I didn't know that. I just — you're telling me now for the first time. She led an amazing life," Trump said. "What else can you say? She was an amazing woman, whether you agree or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I'm actually sad to hear that. I am sad to hear that."

9:15 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Crowd gathered outside the Supreme Court breaks into applause to honor Ginsburg

From CNN's Kelsie Smith

People gather to mourn the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg outside the Supreme Court on September 18 in Washington, DC.
People gather to mourn the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg outside the Supreme Court on September 18 in Washington, DC. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Michael Wille was at the new Eisenhower Memorial on Independence Avenue in Washington, DC, when he learned of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg from a tweet from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

He rushed to his car and drove to the Supreme Court to capture a memorial that has been set up on the steps for the late justice.

While gathered at the steps outside of the Supreme Court, a crowd broke out into applause to honor Ginsburg.

 “The applause was spontaneous,” Wille said. “Some people on the steps just started doing it. And it continued for about 40 seconds.”

Even though he disagreed with Ginsburg’s judicial philosophy, Willie said he found her to be a brilliant legal mind who paved the way for so many women in the United States.

“She was a friend to Justice Scalia and their example of friendship is what we all could use during this year,” Wille said.

“RIP to a legend,” he posted to Twitter.

Watch a moment of the applause:

10:51 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Scalia's son reflects on his late father's friendship with Ginsburg in a series of moving tweets

Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia  and Ruth Bader Ginsburg wait for the beginning of the taping of "The Kalb Report" in Washington, DC, in 2014. 
Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg wait for the beginning of the taping of "The Kalb Report" in Washington, DC, in 2014.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

Christopher Scalia, the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, shared a few stories about Ruth Bader Ginsburg who shared a close friendship with his father.

"I'm very sad to hear about the passing of my parents' good friend, and my father's wonderful colleague, Justice Ginsburg," he tweeted. "May her memory be a blessing."

He went on to share a couple of passages from his father's book "Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived" that he said "convey what she meant to my dad." The passages include his father's sentiments about his friendship with Ginsburg.

10:42 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Here are some notable names on Trump's list of potential SCOTUS nominees 

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue and Devan Cole

President Trump has updated a roster of more than 20 potential Supreme Court nominees in recent weeks, a list that includes prominent and lesser-known conservatives who would undoubtedly tilt the court further rightward if one were appointed.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, a liberal icon, provides Trump with an opportunity to appoint his third justice to the bench, a move that is sure to infuriate Democrats and satisfy Republicans looking to add a sixth conservative justice to the court.

Here are some of the more notable members of Trump's list of potential nominees:

Amy Coney Barrett: A former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Barrett was Trump's pick for a seat on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Born in 1972, she served as a professor of law at her alma mater, Notre Dame. During her confirmation hearing, she had a contentious exchange with Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who asked her about past writings concerning faith and the law. At one point, Feinstein asked Barrett if the "dogma lives loudly in her." Supporters of Barrett suggested Feinstein was attempting to apply a religious litmus test to the nominee.

Barrett is quoted in a 2013 publication affiliated with Notre Dame as saying she thinks it is "very unlikely at this point" that the Supreme Court is going to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 abortion decision that legalized abortion in the US.

Amul Thapar: Thapar was handpicked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to serve as the US attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. In 2006, he went on to a seat on the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Trump nominated Thapar to the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. Born in Michigan in 1969, Thapar has served in government as well as the private practice. In 2007, he was the first American of South Asian descent to be named to an Article III federal judgeship.

Former US Solicitors General Paul Clement and Noel Francisco: Francisco, who stepped down as solicitor general in July at the end of the Supreme Court's last term, had served as many controversial issues came to the court, including disputes regarding the President's financial records, the travel ban, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, religious liberty and the effort to add a citizenship question to the census.

Clement served as solicitor general during George W. Bush's presidency. One of the most experienced appellate advocates in the country, he has argued more than 100 cases before the court, including those involving health care, religious liberty and voting rights.

Read more about Trump's potential picks here.

10:29 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Former President Clinton calls Ginsburg "one of the most extraordinary justices ever to serve"

Former President Bill Clinton walks with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the way to a press conference at the White House on June 14, 1993.
Former President Bill Clinton walks with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the way to a press conference at the White House on June 14, 1993. David Ake/AFP/Getty Images

Former President Bill Clinton called the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg "a magnificent judge and a wonderful person" following her death today at the age of 87.

"With the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, America has lost one of the most extraordinary justices ever to serve on the Supreme Court.  She was a magnificent judge and a wonderful person—a brilliant lawyer with a caring heart, common sense, fierce devotion to fairness and equality, and boundless courage in the face of her own adversity," Clinton said in a statement.

Regarding Ginsburg's tenure on the Supreme Court, Ginsburg "exceeded even my highest expectations when I appointed her," he said.

"Her landmark opinions advancing gender equality, marriage equality, the rights of people with disabilities, the rights of immigrants, and so many more moved us closer to 'a more perfect union,'" Clinton said. "Her powerful dissents, especially her ringing defense of voting rights and other equal protection claims, reminded us that we walk away from our Constitution’s promise at our peril. And she did it all with kindness, grace, and calm, treating even her strongest adversaries with respect."

 

10:30 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff calls Ginsburg's death "a great loss for the country"

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley called Ruth Bader Ginsburg "an exceptional legal scholar, a selfless public servant and a role model" following her death today.

"The death of Justice Ginsburg is a great loss for the country. Our condolences to her children and the scores of people she taught and inspired. She was an exceptional legal scholar, a selfless public servant and a role model," the Joint Chiefs of Staff tweeted tonight.

Read the tweet:

10:09 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

Ginsburg remembered on eve of Rosh Hashanah: "She is one of our great American heroes"

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was remembered at an online service on the eve of Rosh Hashanah at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC, according to a congregant.

A photo of Ginsburg was posted during the mourner's Kaddish.

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, whose husband clerked for Ginsburg a decade ago, shared memories of the late Supreme Court justice, the congregant said.

"She imagined the best for our country, she imagined the law being one that would protect all of the American citizens and could also be used as a document to find our North Star," the rabbi said. "At at time when equality was not given to women, she fought for us and she fought for us with grace, with humility, with persistence with chutzpah and with knowing that law better than anyone else."

Holtzblatt then shared a message with the congregation: "I want to ask you tonight as you think over this news and as we all ponder what this means for us in the days and weeks ahead, that we not make this about the year 2020."

"Justice Ginsburg is so much bigger than 2020 and this moment that we are in. She is one of our great American heroes and she asks us to think big, to dream big, to be creators and to live in her legacy of justice."

10:32 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

One item under discussion by Senate GOP: Whether the November election needs 9 justices

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a Republican senate luncheon in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 16, in Washington.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives for a Republican senate luncheon in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill September 16, in Washington. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While GOP Senate sources believe action on a nominee will likely wait until a post-election, lame-duck session of Congress, it's possible it could be moved up for this reason: The possibility of court fights over the election results and the need for nine justices on the court to resolve any disputes.

A GOP Senate source says this topic will be under discussion with senators as they decide whether to fast-track a nominee before November.

It typically takes two to three months to confirm a nominee. But that process could be sped up if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has the votes to confirm a replacement.

Earlier this evening, McConnell said President Trump's nominee to fill her seat "will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

Watch CNN's Manu Raju explain the process:

9:55 p.m. ET, September 18, 2020

White House press secretary on Ginsburg's death: "Tonight, we honor her legacy"

From CNN's NikkI Carvajal 

President Trump was "saddened to hear the news" about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said late Friday. 

"I heard him in private quarters say he admired her tenacity — how could you not?" McEnany said during an interview with Fox News shortly after the President commented on Ginsburg's passing for the first time. 

McEnany was effusive in her praise of Ginsberg, saying she "really paved the path" for women in law.

"Tonight, we honor her legacy," McEnany said. "We've lowered the flag to half staff, and I've heard the President say just how much he admired her career and her trajectory." 

Moments after her interview with Fox, CNN's Jim Acosta asked McEnany about filling Ginsburg's seat, but she repeatedly said the White House wanted tonight to be about Justice Ginsburg. 

She also said she had not spoken with Trump sine the news broke of her passing.