Tributes are flowing in from around the world for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman on the US Supreme Court and a titan of the American left, who delivered progressive votes on the defining issues of the past three decades and won acclamation from devotees far beyond Washington, DC in the process.
But Ginsburg's death has also transformed the presidential election and set up a monumental battle on Capitol Hill, as senior Republicans signal their intent to hold a vote on a successor just four years after blocking President Obama's final Supreme Court nominee.
Here's what you need to know this morning:
- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, the court announced. She was 87. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 and cast votes on abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care, affirmative action and many more of the most debated issues of recent times.
- Ginsburg was honored by figures on both sides of the aisle on Friday. Chief Justice John Roberts said "our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature," while Hillary Clinton said "Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be another like her." Former President Bill Clinton said "Ginsburg’s life and landmark opinions moved us closer to a more perfect union," while current President Donald Trump added: "She led an amazing life. What else can you say?," hailing Ginsburg as a "brilliant mind."
- But minutes after her death was announced, a fight to replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court began. 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." Four years ago, McConnell led an 11-month Republican blockade of President Barack Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland, arguing that a president should not be able to seat a new justice in the final year of their term.
- A source close to the President told CNN that Trump has been "salivating" to nominate a replacement for the liberal stalwart even before her death on Friday and the possibility of picking a replacement for Ginsburg has weighed on his mind. The White House is prepared to move "very quickly" on putting forward a nominee to replace Ginsburg once Trump signals his intentions, a senior administration official said Friday night.
- Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has responded to Republican efforts to fire the starting gun on the replacement process, saying: "Let me be clear: The voters should pick a President, and that President should select a successor to Justice Ginsburg."
- And Obama called on senators to fulfill the precedent they set four years ago, writing: "A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment ... As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard."