US Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg dies; succession battle looms

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GB NEWS 24 DESK//

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the US Supreme Court since 1993, died on Friday at age 87, giving President Donald Trump a chance to expand its conservative majority with a third appointment at a time of deep divisions in America with a presidential election looming.
Ginsburg, a champion of women’s rights who became an icon for American liberals, died at her home in Washington of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the court said in a statement. She was surrounded by her family, it said.

Ginsburg’s death could dramatically alter the ideological balance of the court, which already had a 5-4 conservative majority, by moving it further to the right.

“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement. “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.”

Trump, seeking re-election on Nov. 3, already has appointed two conservatives to lifetime posts on the court, Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Supreme Court appointments require Senate confirmation, and Trump’s fellow Republicans control the chamber, holding 53 seats of the 100 seats.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he intends to act on any nomination Trump makes.

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s stance is a dramatic reversal from the position he took in a similar situation four years ago, when he refused to act on Democratic President Barack Obama’s election-year nomination of centrist appeals court judge Merrick Garland to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016. Some Democrats accused McConnell and his fellow Republicans of “stealing” a Supreme Court seat.

McConnell’s explanation in a statement on Friday was that in 2016 the Senate and White House were controlled by different parties while now they are both controlled by Republicans. Democrats have called McConnell’s about-face hypocrisy.

Trump is facing Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the election.

“Today, our nation mourns the loss of a titan of the law,” Trump said in a statement, adding that Ginsburg’s decisions “have inspired all Americans, and generations of great legal minds.”

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