“Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in,” Obama said.
“A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment,” he continued. “The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle. As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard.”
The issues before the court, the former President said, “are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process.”
“Tonight and in the coming days, we should focus on the loss of the justice, and her enduring legacy,” Biden told reporters Friday night after returning to Delaware from a campaign event. “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.”
Obama, in his statement, praised Ginsburg as a “warrior for gender equality” and “relentless litigator and an incisive jurist” who “helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us.”
“Justice Ginsburg inspired the generations who followed her, from the tiniest trick-or-treaters to law students burning the midnight oil to the most powerful leaders in the land,” Obama wrote. “Michelle and I admired her greatly, we’re profoundly thankful for the legacy she left this country, and we offer our gratitude and our condolences to her children and grandchildren tonight.”
CNN’s Caroline Kelly, Eric Bradner and Maeve Reston contributed to this report.