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Ginsburg passes, setting up potential political firestorm on eve of 2020 election

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, died Friday evening surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, D.C., due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer.

Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993, after a 13-year stint on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

She was the second woman appointed to the Court and served more than 27 years.

“Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague,” ,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts said. “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.”

Well wishes have been coming in from across the political spectrum since the news hit the wires.

“Our nation has lost a giant,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner said. “Thank you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for your life of fighting for our most vulnerable and championing true equality for all. History will remember you as a trailblazer and a voice for liberty and equality.”

“Justice Ginsburg’s legacy lies in a legal system far fairer than the one she found as one of only nine women in her first-year Harvard Law class,” U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine said “As a litigator, she rid our country of statutes that discriminated against women who were breadwinners and men who were child-rearers. As a justice, her majority opinions opened Virginia’s last all-male public school to women and freed people with disabilities from the isolating confines of institutions. Just as famously, she was uncompromising when the Court erred on issues of equality and fundamental rights, penning dissents that sharply defended the Voting Rights Act and women’s access to reproductive health care, all while reminding us ‘you can disagree without being disagreeable.’”

“I am sorry to learn of the death of Justice Ginsburg. Her service as only the second woman on the Supreme Court was the capstone of a long and notable legal career,” said Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA-09).

“Justice Ginsburg’s legacy will forever be remembered as a public servant to our nation, devoting her life to justice,” said Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA-01). “While Justice Ginsburg and I were at different ends of the political spectrum, dedication to the United States and the defense of the Constitution is a virtue that knows no single party. Her example alone has led so many women to enter our courts, our law firms, and our schools. For that, our nation should be forever grateful.”

The statement from Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA-04) brought up the issue on the minds of many: what happens to her seat, with the presidential election looming,

“To protect the integrity of our Republic and our highest court, as the nation grieves the loss of this historic jurist and American icon, I call for the U.S. Senate to honor Justice Ginsburg’s service with more than empty platitudes and prayers by honoring her final wishes — for a new justice to be confirmed only following the installment of a new president in January,” McEachin said.

The Kaine press statement made a similar notation, citing the precedent in 2016 after the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, whose seat was left unfilled for the last 11 months of Barack Obama’s second term as Republicans insisted that the next president be given the opportunity to nominate a candidate.

The press statement from Kaine’s office indicated that the senator “will do everything he can to ensure that this Supreme Court seat is not filled” until after the next inauguration.

Story by Chris Graham