RBG's Death Raises New Specter: a Lame-Duck Confirmation

And mourners grieve over loss of powerful Supreme Court judge
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2020 11:30 AM CDT
Mourners Grieve RGB as Hawks Circle the High Court
In this Nov. 30, 2018 file photo, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, nominated by President Bill Clinton, sits with fellow Supreme Court justices for a group portrait at the Supreme Court Building in Washington, Friday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Hundreds of people sang "Amazing Grace" on Friday evening for a lost icon of justice—Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The Supreme Court flag stood at half-mast in Washington, DC, as people tweeted photos and videos of the hushed scene, where mourners also sang "America the Beautiful" and John Lennon's "Imagine," the Hill reports. "We were talking on the way up here and about how easy it is to get swept up in all the politics and the emotional back and forth of Supreme Court decisions and wrap that up with the grief of losing somebody as monumental," Washington resident Courtney Tate, 36, told DCist. "But I think the better thing to do is remember RBG and rejoice in the work she did. Especially with respect to women's rights." For more:

  • Scalia's son: The son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia posted a series of touching tweets about Ginsburg's relationship with his father, CNN reports. "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." Read this moving tweet about Scalia giving her two dozen roses.

  • Bill Clinton: The former president tweeted about Ginsburg's "landmark opinions" and "powerful dissents" along with an early photo of them together, Fox News reports. "Her 27 years on the Court exceeded even my highest expectations when I appointed her," he said in a separate statement. "And she did it all with kindness, grace, and calm, treating even her strongest adversaries with respect."
  • A lame-duck nomination? Five Thirty-Eight untangles the possible ramifications of Ginsburg's death. Among them: It's unclear whether a new high court pick can be confirmed in less than 46 days before the election, which means that if President Trump loses, a lame duck session might confirm his pick and enrage Democrats.
  • Another thought: What if the Supreme Court faces an election-related argument? A court that's 5-3 (with Ginsburg's seat still empty) or 6-3 (with a new Trump pick) could mean trouble for Dems. Five Thirty-Eight's rundown is worth the click.
  • Mark Kelly: The former astronaut is favored to win a Senate seat for the Dems in an Arizona special election, which would shrink the GOP's 53-47 majority—and mean that only three Senate Republicans would have to jump ship to oppose a Ginsburg replacement during the lame-duck session, NBC News reports. By Arizona law, Kelly would begin his term by Nov. 30.
  • 'Abolish the filibuster': Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) said Senate Democrats should "abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court" if Republicans dare replace Ginsburg during an election year—something Sen. Mitch McConnell opposed back in 2016, the Hill reports. "Mitch McConnell set the precedent," said Markey. "If he violates it, when Democrats control the Senate in the next Congress, we must abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court."

  • What else Dems can do: The New Yorker looks at whether McConnell can really push through a nominee by Nov. 3. Forty-five days is a definite crunch, but Dems don't have many delay tactics, and McConnell needs only a simple Senate majority to confirm. Democrats might have to "grin and bear it," the article says, but have four ways to seek political "retribution." See what they are.
  • Big cases: Fox News looks at some of Ginsburg's biggest cases, including United States v. Virginia, which ended the Virginia Military Institute's male-only admission policy. In Stenberg v. Carhart, she cited Roe v. Wade in arguing against a Nebraska law that banned partial-birth abortion.
  • 'Notorious': Ginsburg was also an "unparalleled cultural icon" known to many as "the Notorious RBG" for her tireless work as a rebel and feminist champion, Fox News notes. Anyone still catching up can check out two 2018 films, the Oscar-nominated doc RBG and award-winning On the Basis of Sex.
  • Quotations: Today digs up 20 inspiring Ginsburg quotes. Among them: "Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time," and "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception."
  • Photos: CNN has a powerful gallery of Ginsburg pics ranging from 1933 to 2019. One shows her and Scalia riding an elephant in India in 1994; the caption notes that Scalia called the pair an "odd couple" and he considered her his "best buddy" on the high court.
(More Ruth Bader Ginsburg stories.)

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