Joe Biden honors Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg—and makes clear the Senate must wait to replace her

Deb Nystrom / Flickr Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg...
Deb Nystrom / Flickr

Referring to the “very sad news” of Supreme Court Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden honored Ginsburg’s legacy in brief remarks Friday night—and made clear that the Senate should not rush to confirm Donald Trump’s choice of a replacement for her.

Biden noted that “it was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearing,” and spoke to both Ginsburg’s career as a women’s rights attorney before her confirmation and how, as a justice, “She was fierce and unflinching in her pursuit of the civil and legal rights of everyone.”

But the bottom line is that, while we honor her, there is a fight to prevent Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from ramming through a new appointment despite McConnell’s months upon months of refusal to fill a Supreme Court seat in 2016.

We learned of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was not only a giant of the legal profession, but a beloved figure, and my heart goes out to all those who cared for her and care about her. She practiced the highest American ideals as a justice: equality and justice under the law. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us. As I said, she was a beloved figure.

As a young attorney, you all know the story, she persisted, overcoming a lot of obstacles for a woman practicing law in those days, as well as, she continued, she moved herself in a position where she could end up changing the law of the land and leading the effort to provide equality for women in every field. She led the advance of equal rights for women.

It’s hard to believe it was my honor to preside over her confirmation hearing. I got to meet her at the time and she … her ascension to the Supreme Court. In the decades since, she has been absolutely consistent and reliable and a voice for freedom and opportunity for everyone, and, you know, she never failed. She was fierce and unflinching in her pursuit of the civil and legal rights of everyone.

Her opinions and her dissents are going to continue to shape the basis for law for a generation. And, you know, tonight and in the coming days we should focus on the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy.

But there is no doubt—let me be clear—that the voters should pick the President and the President should pick the justice for the Senate to consider. This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016, when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That’s the position the United States Senate must take today when the election’s only 46 days off. I think the fastest justice ever confirmed was 47 days and the average is closer to 70 days. And so we should do this with full consideration and that is my hope and expectation of what will happen.

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