Remembering Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Fernando Alfonso III and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 2054 GMT (0454 HKT) September 20, 2020
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2:38 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Biden says the nation should honor Ginsburg's wish and let the next president fill her seat

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said today that the country should honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg's wishes and not fill her Supreme Court seat until after the presidential election and inauguration.

Here's what the former vice president said while speaking from Philadelphia this afternoon:

"Her granddaughter said yesterday and said publicly that her dying words were, quote, my most fervent wish is that I not be replaced until a new president is installed. As a nation, we should heed her final call to us, not as a personal service to her but as a service to the country, our country at a crossroads."

Some context: Ginsburg told her granddaughter she wanted her replacement to be appointed by the next president, NPR reported.

"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed," she dictated to granddaughter, Clara Spera, days before her death.

2:33 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

With Ginsburg's death, the US lost a "heroine, an icon and a mother,'' Joe Biden says

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden called the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg a "heroine, an icon and a mother" today during remarks made at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia today.

"The nation lost a heroine, an icon and a mother, a grandmother and a matriarch. We know how hard that is to watch a piece of your soul absorb the cruelty and the pain of the dreadful disease of cancer," Biden said.
2:09 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Here are the GOP senators to watch during the Supreme Court nomination process

From CNN's Manu Raju and Nicky Robertson

Here is a list of the Republican senators that CNN is watching and where they stand on filling the vacant Supreme Court seat during an election year. 

Remember: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said there will be a vote on President Trump’s nominee.

There are currently 53 GOP senators — meaning McConnell can only lose three Republicans before Vice President Mike Pence could cast a tie-breaking vote. Should two more Republican senators say they oppose movement on Trump's forthcoming nominee, Democrats will have enough support to punt the nomination to the lame-duck session of Congress. 

Sen. Susan Collins

Collins, who is facing a tough re-election battle in Maine, issued a statement Saturday saying that voting on a nominee to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Supreme Court seat should wait until after the election. But, her office has not responded to CNN’s questions about whether she would vote against a Trump nominee either before the election or in the lame-duck session.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Murkowski, of Alaska, issued a statement Sunday saying she opposes taking up a Supreme Court nomination prior to Election Day.

However, she did not address whether she would oppose a Trump nominee in a lame duck session if Joe Biden wins. Murkowski’s office would not comment to CNN on this question on Sunday. 

Sen. Cory Gardner

Gardner, facing a tough re-election in Colorado, did not answer Saturday whether he would stand by his 2016 words that the “next President ought to choose" the Supreme Court nominee.

At a local town hall, Gardner responded without referring to his 2016 statement, and focused on Ginsburg's death.

"We need to make sure that we are giving time for personal reflection on this loss of an American icon," Gardner said, "there is time for debate, there is time for politics, but the time for now is to pray for the family."

Sen. Lamar Alexander

Alexander, of Tennessee, who is set to retire this year, has yet to comment whether he would support the Supreme Court vacancy being filled before the presidential election. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Grassley, of Iowa, is a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is in charge of the process for filling a Supreme Court vacancy. 

In July, Grassley told CNN that he could not answer the question as he is no longer chairman.

"[M]y position is if I were chairman of the committee, I couldn't move forward with it but you'd have to ask Graham what he's going to do. I can't answer that question," he said.

On Sunday, Grassley’s office had no comment if that’s still his position.

Sen. Mitt Romney

Romney, of Utah, has, at times, been at odds with the President Trump and was the lone Republican to vote to remove him from office. He has yet to comment on the process of filling the Supreme Court vacancy.

12:43 p.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Sen. Murkowksi says she opposes taking up a nomination before election Day

From CNN's Manu Raju

Michael Reynold/Pool/Getty Images
Michael Reynold/Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, says she opposes taking up the nomination to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before election day.

“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed. I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia. We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply,” Murkowski said in a statement.

More context: This means there are two Republicans who have voiced their position, Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins. If there are two more Republicans who oppose that, it would be enough to punt the process to the lame-duck session of Congress after the election.

11:41 a.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Ruth Bader Ginsburg mural painted near Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC

From CNN's Amanda Jackson


It took two artists one day to paint a mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg near Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC, on Saturday. 

The mural was painted by Shawn Perkins (@sptheplug) and David Zambrano (@dezcustomz).

"Over the past few months, we have been painting murals throughout DC, mainly on the wooden boards used to prevent vandalism on buildings and business near the a White House (BLM PLAZA). The purpose is to uplift our community during these unpredictable times, through affirmations of hope and unity, along with honoring those who paved the way for those without a voice," Perkins told CNN. "Our latest installation was complete over the course of a day at Blackfinn DC, a well known restaurant pub blocks from the White House. With the recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there was no question who we would commemorate with this latest piece. It’s up indefinitely for now, the owner of the restaurant will likely keep it up throughout the rest of the year at least.”

See more photos of the mural:



9:50 a.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Nancy Pelosi visits Supreme Court to pay her respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

From CNN's Ariane de Vogue and Nicky Robertson

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrives to pay her respects at the makeshift memorial for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in front of the US Supreme Court on September 20 in Washington, DC.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi arrives to pay her respects at the makeshift memorial for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in front of the US Supreme Court on September 20 in Washington, DC. Samuel Corum/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the Supreme Court this morning to lay flowers and pay her respects to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

More from Pelosi: She said Sunday morning that she would not leverage a government shutdown in order to slow down the filling of Ginsburg’s Supreme Court vacancy.

“None of us has any interest in shutting down government, that has such a harmful and shameful impact on so many people in our country,” Pelosi told ABC.

When asked if there was any way the Democrats could slow down the Senate Republicans, Pelosi responded, “everyone to get out there and vote.”

9:23 a.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Nominating a new Supreme Court justice before the election is "a power play," Bill Clinton says


Former President Bill Clinton characterized President Trump's maneuvers to name a new Supreme Court justice before the election as "a power play."

"It's a power play, and they think they can do it," Clinton told CNN today. "The other interesting thing, they can do it because Senator McConnell made an agreement between the Republicans and the Democratic senators to end the filibuster for court of appeal judges. But keep it for Supreme Court judges."

Some context: Trump, who had been facing a potentially historic deficit with women voters in part because of their disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, addressed Ginsburg's death moments after he stepped on stage at his campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Saturday night, calling her "a legal giant" whose "landmark rulings, fierce devotion to justice, and her courageous battle against cancer inspire all Americans."

As the crowd began chanting "Fill That Seat!" Trump said he had not made a final choice but was inclined to choose a woman — and then, with a theatrical flourish and no hint of irony, took a snap poll of the crowd to gauge whether they preferred a man or a woman to fill the seat of a justice who was an equal rights icon.

"It will be a woman, a very talented, very brilliant woman," Trump said, after the crowd overwhelmingly cheered for a female nominee. "I haven't chosen yet, but we have numerous women on the list."

9:14 a.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Ginsburg was "disarmingly straightforward," Bill Clinton says


Former President Bill Clinton recalled his conversation with Ruth Bader Ginsburg when he interviewed her prior to nominating her to the Supreme Court in 1993. He said she was "disarmingly straightforward." 

"We hadn't been talking but a couple of minutes before I felt like we were just two friends having an honest conversation about American history, the constitution, and the law and how it affected real people," the former president told CNN today.

Clinton continued: "I was very, very determined that whoever I put on the court would be on the level and would see the people first and understand the human impact. And she really did. She had this uncanny ability to be very much in the weeds, if you will, of the intellectual legal arguments and yet never lose sight of the human impact of her decisions."


9:16 a.m. ET, September 20, 2020

Bill Clinton says Ginsburg was a "force for equality for men as well as women"


Former President Bill Clinton remembered the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who he nominated to the Supreme Court in 1993.

"She was a force for equality for men as well as women, for example. She was consistent and she did it in a way that was level-headed and on the level and respectful of different opinions and the other judges on the court," he told CNN this morning. "She was highly respected because she bent over backwards to work with the other judges when she could. And she stood up and was counted when she couldn't. And of course along the way she became kind of a cultural icon, which surprised even me I think."

Ginsburg died Friday evening at the age of 87.