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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11:22 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Trump indicates he will move forward on appointing a nominee for Supreme Court without delay

From CNN's Sam Fossum, Clare Foran, Manu Raju and Ted Barrett

Oliver Contreras/Pool/Getty Images
Oliver Contreras/Pool/Getty Images

President Trump, in his first tweets of the day following the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appeared to indicate that he will move forward on appointing a nominee "without delay." 

".@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!," Trump tweeted.

Some background: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on Friday that whomever Trump nominates to replace Ginsburg will get a vote on the Senate floor.

GOP aides are skeptical that there is enough time to confirm a nominee before Nov. 3, given that Supreme Court nominees typically take two to three months to process, according to a review of recent confirmation proceedings.

But that process could be sped up if McConnell, who controls the majority of the chamber, has the votes to confirm a replacement, and there is enough time to confirm someone in a lame-duck session of Congress after the November elections.

11:25 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Flags in Texas to be lowered in Ginsburg's honor, governor says

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Gov. Greg Abbott today ordered all Texas flags to be lowered to honor the life and legacy of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

"My heart goes out to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s family, and Cecilia and I are keeping them in our prayers," Abbott said in a statement. "Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer of keen intellect and will be remembered as a judicial giant. She put service above self and leaves behind a grateful nation." 

Abbott's decision to lower the flags follows similar actions from the governors of Kentucky and Connecticut.

11:27 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

How Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death could reshape the 2020 campaign

Analysis from CNN's Maeve Reston

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

As America mourned the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a brilliant trailblazer for women and an equal rights icon — a fierce new political debate began unfolding Friday evening.

With just 45 days until the election, the battle over who will replace her and when that Senate vote will occur is already reshaping the stakes in more than a half-dozen closely fought Senate races, while galvanizing impassioned voters on both sides of the presidential campaign.

The death of a Supreme Court justice so close to the November election was all but certain to thrust America's culture wars back to the center of the political debate in a year dominated by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

That battle has the ability to breathe new energy into the electorate — activating conservative Republicans who have grown weary of President Trump but view the election as a chance to shape the court, while also mobilizing millions of female voters who are already infuriated by Trump's degradation of women and would view his ability to nominate three Supreme Court justices in a single term as an assault on their values.

Read the full analysis here.

10:08 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Trump talked privately about nominating a female justice before Ginsburg's death

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Before Justice Ginsburg’s death, President Trump had talked privately this summer about the prospect of nominating a female justice in order to boost his support among women voters, people familiar with the conversations said.  

Now that the prospect has become a reality, Amy Coney Barrett’s name has emerged as a favorite after being considered for Trump’s previous Supreme Court vacancies. She was confirmed as a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017 after being nominated by the President. 

Advocates pushing for Barrett last time were told by White House officials after Brett Kavanaugh was nominated that she was very much still in the running for another vacancy, according to one person familiar with the conversations. There was a belief among her supporters that Trump favored nominating her to replace a female justice like Ginsburg, the person said. 

Her nomination now is far from assured: Among administration officials, there is a sense they have no room for error given the tight timing and fraught election year politics of this vacancy. 

While Barrett is still a favorite, hers would be a tough confirmation (as it was in 2017) given her opposition to abortion and a devout Catholic faith that Democrats have claimed would color her legal views. 

It’s not clear yet whether Trump and his aides believe a more widely accepted nominee would be a smarter route — or whether such a nominee even exists in the current political climate. 

One official said the President could begin meeting with nominees next week as the White House ramps up its preparations for a confirmation.

Read about other notable names on Trump's list of nominees here.

10:05 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Kentucky governor orders flags lowered to half-staff in honor of Ginsburg

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has ordered all state office flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The flags will remain in that position until sunset on the day of Ginsburg’s internment, a statement from the governor’s office said.

Beshear reacted to Ginsbrug's death in a tweet, calling her a "trailblazer who served our country and our people."

11:32 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Hundreds gathered outside the Supreme Court last night to honor Ginsburg

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

After news broke that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, hundreds showed up outside the Supreme Court last night to pay tribute to her with a makeshift memorial on the building's steps.

"You just feel gravitated to be here. For younger folks like ourselves, she represents so much, so much progress that has been made. It just felt like a natural place to be," one attendee told CNN affiliate WJLA.

Vigils also took place in other cities, including Denver and San Francisco.

Watch the scene outside the Supreme Court:

At about 9 p.m., the crowd had grown since the announcement of Ginsburg's death at around 7:30 p.m., CNN reported from the scene.

9:38 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

First lady Melania Trump says Ginsburg's "spirit will live on in all she has inspired"

First Lady Melania Trump shared words of condolences for Ruth Bader Ginsburg whose death was an "immense loss," she tweeted.

"Justice's Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing is a immense loss. Her tenacity & strength were matched by her intellect & compassion, & her spirit will live on in all she has inspired. My prayers are with her family & all who loved her. #RIPRBG," she said.

Read the tweet:

3:23 p.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Here's how long it has taken to confirm past Supreme Court justices

From CNN's Adam Levine, Joan Biskupic and Ariane de Vogue

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death has set the stage for a political battle over the future of the highest court.

Addressing the liberal justice's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday evening, "President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

But Ginsburg told her granddaughter she wanted her replacement to be appointed by the next president, NPR reported.

"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," she dictated to granddaughter Clara Spera days before her death.

Former president Obama, in a statement mourning Ginsburg, also called for Senate Republicans to uphold the standard they set in 2016 when they blocked his nominee.

Here's a look at how long is has taken to confirm Supreme Court justices:

Brett Kavanaugh (89 days)

  • President announces nomination: July 9, 2018
  • Senate receives nomination: July 10, 2018
  • Confirmed: October 6, 2018

Neil Gorsuch (66 days)

  • President announces nomination: January 31, 2017
  • Senate receives nomination: February 1, 2017
  • Confirmed: April 7, 2017

Elena Kagan (87 days)

  • President announces nomination: May 10, 2010
  • Senate receives nomination: May 10, 2010
  • Confirmed: August 5, 2010

Sonia Sotomayor (72 days)

  • President announces nomination: May 26, 2009
  • Senate receives nomination: June 1, 2009
  • Confirmed: August 6, 2009

Samuel Alito (92 days)

  • President announces nomination: October 31, 2005
  • Senate receives nomination: November 10, 2005
  • Confirmed: January 31, 2006

John Roberts (72 days)

  • President announces nomination: July 19, 2005
  • Senate receives nomination: July 29, 2005
  • Confirmed: September 29, 2005

(Note: Roberts was nominated twice by Bush but in immediate succession. The first was to replace O’Connor, but upon the death of Rehnquist, his initial nomination was withdrawn and resubmitted as a nomination for Chief Justice. There are 23 days between his second nomination on September 6 and his confirmation) 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (50 days) 

  • President announces nomination: June 14, 1993
  • Senate receives nomination: June 22, 1993
  • Confirmed: August 3, 1993

Clarence Thomas (106 days)

  • President announces nomination: July 1, 1991
  • Senate receives nomination: July 8, 1991
  • Confirmed: October 15, 1991

Stephen Breyer (77 days) 

  • President announces nomination: May 13, 1994
  • Senate receives nomination: May 17, 1994
  • Confirmed: July 29, 1994

CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to clarify the date on which each Supreme Court nomination was announced by the president and when each nomination was received by the Senate.

8:58 a.m. ET, September 19, 2020

Top Senate Democrat to hold call to discuss Supreme Court vacancy

From CNN's Lauren Fox

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is expected to hold a call with his caucus at 1 p.m. today to discuss the Supreme Court vacancy and strategy, according to a source. 

Democrats have already called on Sen. Mitch McConnell to hold off on pushing for a new nominee following Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, but the Kentucky senator has pledged that he will bring President Trump’s nominee to the floor whoever that person is.