Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish was to not be replaced “before a new president is installed.” So will Donald Trump honour the late Supreme Court Justice?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish was to not be replaced “before a new president is installed.” So will Donald Trump honour the late Supreme Court Justice?

Can Trump replace RBG before the November election?

Americans woke up on Friday knowing their vote on November 3 had the potential to decide the next four years.

Now it could well dictate American life for decades.

The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the trailblazing Supreme Court Justice who for many years was the sole female judge on America's highest court, throws more heat into the most divisive US election in recent history.

Justice Ginsburg, a celebrated public figure in her later life who continued to serve on the Supreme Court after fighting some of America's biggest battles for gender equality, died at 87 in Washington DC on Friday, local time.

With the absence of the liberal judge, America's highest court is now open to being rebalanced in Republican favour and has the potential to influence American life for decades to come.

A Trump replacement would change the balance to a conservative majority of six to three, meaning abortion rights, gun control and immigration will all now potentially be on the ballot in just 46 days.

 

What was already a battle for America's soul has now taken on new layers of potential conflict and uncertainty because the Supreme Court in America is a unique pillar of societal and judicial power.

Justice Ginsburg's health has been one of the most keenly watched developments of the 2020 race and her battles with cancer had lead news bulletins in recent months.

She recently said she did not want to be replaced by US President Donald Trump, whose fate will be decided in less than six weeks at the 2020 presidential election.

"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," she said in a "parting statement" dictated days before her death, according to NPR.

Chief Justice John Roberts described Justice Ginsburg as a "jurist of historic stature".

"We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague," said Justice Roberts on Friday night local time.

"Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her - a tireless and resolute champion of justice."

Just last week, Mr Trump announced 20 potential conservative nominees for the Supreme Court, even while there were no vacancies for the lifetime appointment.

The Supreme Court is America's highest court, a third branch of government charged with interpreting laws to ensure they are constitutional.

Among the most celebrated achievements for Mr Trump's base has been his addition of two Supreme Court judges, as well as stacking many of America's lower courts with conservatives.

The White House was yet to comment on potential replacements, but Senate Republicans have already indicated they are willing to push for a replacement to be confirmed in what could be the final days of Mr Trump's presidency, should he lose.

Trump 2020 campaign spokeswoman Jenna Ellis said it was "too early" to talk about the political ramifications.

"Ruth Bader Ginsburg was someone who served the country just remarkably throughout her entire tenure on the bench, and of course our condolences go to her family, " said Ms Ellis on Fox News.

"Taking some time to recognise that, before we get too much into the politics, is definitely how the country should celebrate her legacy and off course her remarkable achievements for women."

But Ms Ellis said that even if Democrat Joe Biden was to win in November, Mr Trump would be able to finalise a new justice before the January 20 inauguration of the next president.

"He certainly has sufficient time to do that," Ms Ellis said.

Celebrated in recent films, the birdlike Brooklyn born jurist rose to prominence in the male-dominated New York legal community in the 1970s.

Nominated by Bill Clinton, she was a vocal supporter of gay and abortion rights as well as access to health care and limits to the death penalty.

The first justice to officiate at a same-sex marriage in 2013, she was two years later part of the 5 to 4 majority to legalise gay marriage in the US.

Justice Ginsburg served for 25 years on the Supreme Court, on which she was the second ever female justice.

Originally published as Can Trump replace RBG before the November election?


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