Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday of pancreatic cancer complications. “Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” said Chief Justice John Roberts. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. 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.” The development will give President Donald Trump the opportunity to nominate her replacement, an announcement expected soon. Senate Republicans have promised to the vacancy even in the waning days of his term. The confirmation battle, in the midst of a pandemic and a presidential election, is sure to be titanic, reports the New York Times.
Trump has appointed two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. moving the court to the right. The replacement of Ginsburg, leader of the court’s four-member liberal wing, could transform the court into a profoundly conservative institution in which Republican appointees would outnumber Democratic ones six to three. In 2016, Senate Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, saying that holding hearings in the last year of a president’s term would deprive voters of a role in the process. Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) led the effort to block Garland’s nomination. he has said he will press to fill any vacancy that arises this year. McConnell says that where one party controls the Senate and the other the presidency, as in 2016, vacancies should not be filled in a presidential election year. Where the same party controls both the Senate and presidency, he says, confirmations may proceed. Democrats may have little practical power to stop a third Trump nominee after changes in Senate rules on filibusters on nominations. It takes only a majority vote to confirm judicial nominees.