Schumer Floor Remarks As Republicans Block Resolution To Honor The Life And Legacy Of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Because It Acknowledged Her Final Wishes That Her Seat Not Be Filled Until After the Presidential Election

September 22, 2020

Washington, D.C.— Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today took to the Senate floor to introduce a resolution in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life and accomplishments. This resolution also acknowledged Justice Ginsberg’s final wish, which was that her replacement to be installed after the presidential election. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) blocked the motion. Below is a transcript of Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Over the course of her extraordinary life, Justice Ginsburg did as much to advance the cause of justice as she could manage. She was a trailblazer for women of all ages and from all walks of life, who watched her tear down the barriers that separated men from women, first from outside the corridors of power and then within them.

As I said this morning, it is only fitting that she will be the first woman to ever lie in state in the nation’s Capitol. After all, she made a life’s work out of going where women had not gone before.

I rise now to offer a resolution that will honor her long and illustrious career. Republicans came to us with this resolution, but it ignored Justice Ginsburg’s dying wish—what she called her “most fervent wish”—that she not be replaced until a new president is installed. So we simply have added it to the exact same text of the resolution that the Republicans gave us.

All the kind words and lamentations about Justice Ginsburg from the Republican majority will be totally empty if those Republicans ignore her dying wish and instead move to replace Justice Ginsburg with someone who will tear down everything she built.

Someone who could turn the clock back on a woman’s right to choose.

Someone who could turn the clock back on marriage equality.

Someone who could make it impossible to join a union.

Someone who could take health care away from tens of millions of Americans, send drug prices soaring, and rip away protections for up to 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

That is what we’re talking about when we talk about this vacancy. For hundreds of millions of Americans, everything is on the line.

Perhaps that’s why Justice Ginsburg expressed her “fervent” wish that she not be replaced until the next president is installed. She knew how important the Supreme Court was in American life. And she knew there would be a great temptation to take advantage of the timing of her death for political purposes. She knew the risk of her vacancy turning into a power game, driven by rank partisanship.

So she expressed a simple idea: let the next president decide, whomever it might be. Could be President Trump. Could be Vice President Biden. But let the next president decide. Don’t rush a nominee through mere days before an election, in what is sure to be the most controversial and partisan Supreme Court nomination in our nation’s entire history.

Maybe Justice Ginsberg hoped that her dying wish could save the Senate Majority from itself. It doesn’t appear that way, but here on the floor this afternoon, we ask our colleagues to acknowledge her entire life and legacy, including her dying wish.