Republicans cynically use Ginsburg's 2016 words — but they're hoping voters will miss one key detail

Republicans cynically use Ginsburg's 2016 words — but they're hoping voters will miss one key detail
The White House / Public domain

Republicans are using the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 2016 words to try to undermine her dying wish, in apparent hopes that people don’t know the difference between February and September. Ginsburg’s family has shared her final public statement, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

But wait! In 2016, as Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, held a Supreme Court seat open for the final 10 months of President Obama’s term, Ginsburg said Obama’s nominee should get a hearing. “The president is elected for four years, not three years,” she said, adding “So the power he has in year three continues into year four.” That quote will feature heavily in advertising from the 45Committee, introduced in a blast of chutzpah with the question “How do you respect Ruth Bader Ginsburg?”

The difference is this: In 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia died in February. There was enough time for a leisurely vetting process followed by full confirmation hearings and vote, followed by several more months before the elections. Now, Republicans are trying to get through the confirmation process more quickly than it’s happened since 1981, when Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was confirmed unanimously, and if they succeed, it will be with just days to go until the elections.

Small difference.

Also, of course, Ginsburg’s final wish was informed by Republican behavior in 2016. She didn’t ask them to repeat 2016. She just said don’t do a full turn-about and break all precedent in the reverse of the precedents broken in 2016. But breaking precedent to build partisan power is what the Republican Party is all about.

Republicans are planning to spend up to $35 million boosting Trump’s nominee.


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