Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) On The Passing Of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Friday, September 18, 2020
Marcelle and I are overcome with sadness. Almost exactly a year ago Marcelle introduced Justice Ginsburg during an Action For Cancer Awareness event, a memory that Marcelle will always treasure. Justice Ginsburg was brilliant and was a legend of the law. She has become a heroine and even an icon to millions of Americans. She was also unmistakably kind and funny, and a fundamentally decent human being.
Difficult days are ahead. And Senators McConnell and Graham must not treat this President’s Supreme Court nominees differently than President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees. They must exhibit a shred of integrity and recognize that abandoning their word now, and breaking all precedents by ramming a nominee through — most likely after the election — would cause the nation tremendous pain.
But tonight I will simply reflect on Justice Ginsburg’s life and legacy. I am so thankful for every day she spent here with us, serving the American people with unparalleled grace, integrity, and an unyielding sense of equality and justice.
May she rest in peace and power.
Senator Bernie Sanders issued the following statement on the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
"The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a tremendous loss to our country. She was an extraordinary champion of justice and equal rights, and will be remembered as one of the great justices in modern American history.
"Unfortunately, we’ve already heard tonight from Sen. McConnell that he has decided to go against Justice Ginsburg’s dying wishes and violate his own past statements in order to bring a judge nominated by President Trump to the floor of the United States Senate.
"That’s in direct contradiction of his statement in 2016, when he said Supreme Court nominees should not be voted on during a presidential election year: ‘Our view is this: Give the people a voice in filling this vacancy,’ he said. McConnell is cementing a shameful legacy of brazen hypocrisy.
"Thankfully not all Senate Republicans agree.
"Just today, Sen. Lisa Murkowski came out against an appointment this close to an election. ‘I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee,’ she said. ‘We are 50 some days away from an election.’ In addition, several of McConnell’s other colleagues have previously stated they’re against confirming a new justice this close to an election. Sen. Chuck Grassley said in May, ‘You can’t have one rule for Democratic presidents and another rule for Republican presidents.’ Sen. Susan Collins said, ‘I think that’s too close, I really do,’ when asked by The New York Times about appointing a justice in October.
"But no one has been clearer than Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Lindsay Graham. He promised in 2018 that ‘if an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election.'
"The right thing to do here is clear. The Republicans in the Senate know it, and many of them have stated it clearer than I could. We should let voters decide. Period."
Rep. Peter Welch issued the following statement on the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Tonight is a devastating night for our country. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have been small in stature, but she was a titan of jurisprudence. A pioneer from the earliest days of her career, she won a landmark case for women’s rights in 1971, before being appointed to the highest court in the land in 1993. She served with distinction, never letting her colleagues forget the huge impacts that the law has on the most vulnerable among us. I join all Vermonters in expressing gratitude for her service and heartfelt condolences to her family.
As the Senate carefully considers a replacement, it is clear that they must adhere to the ‘McConnell Standard,’ and wait until the new year to make their decision. We are at the doorstep of one of the most important elections of our lifetime. In his own words, Senator McConnell has made clear that he is content to “let the American people decide. The Senate will appropriately revisit the matter when it considers the qualifications of the nominee the next president nominates, whoever that might be.”
There can be no vote in the Senate until the American people have voted to decide who will nominate and confirm the next Supreme Court Justice.”
Governor Phil Scott today issued the following statement:
“I am saddened to learn of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I send my heartfelt condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.
“History will remember, and our children should learn about, Justice Ginsburg. She was a tireless advocate for justice and equality, and an example for future generations. There is no doubt she will be missed on the court, and in our national dialogue.
“I know her death will leave many Americans concerned about the appointment of her successor. While it is important to take the time to mourn her passing, we must also follow precedent, as well as her dying wishes, and delay the appointment process until after Inauguration Day.”