U.S. Supreme Court dean Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at the age of 87, which should pave the way for an intense political battle within two months of the presidential election.
This progressive judge, who has become a true icon on the left, has died of pancreatic cancer, surrounded by her family, the highest court in the United States said in a statement.
Fragile for several years, this champion of the cause of women, minorities or the environment had been hospitalized twice this summer and her health was closely monitored by Democrats who fear that President Donald Trump will hasten to name his successor.
The White House did not immediately react, but concern was quickly expressed in the opposition.
Just moments after the announcement of her death, Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer hailed a “giant in American history,” but asked not to rush the choice of her successor.
“The American people must have their say in the selection of the next Supreme Court judge. His post should not be assigned until we have a new president, ”he tweeted.
According to NPR radio, she herself had confided her last wishes to her granddaughter, Clara Spera. “My dearest wish is not to be replaced until a new president has taken the oath,” she dictated to him a few days before her death.
Anxious to galvanize voters on the religious right, Donald Trump has already published a list of conservative judges, most of them opposed to abortion and in favor of carrying weapons, in which he will draw to choose the next sage of the Supreme Court .
According to the Constitution, it would then be up to the Senate to approve the choice of the president. Given the Republican majority in the upper house, it is very possible, except defection of moderate elected officials, that his candidate enters the temple of Law.
This would cement the conservative majority of the high court, which has the last word on the subjects that most divide American society: abortion, minority rights, the carrying of arms, the death penalty …
Today, the five conservative judges – out of nine – are in fact not united, and it is common for one of them to vote with his progressive colleagues.
Conversely, the progressive quartet, of which the judge nicknamed “RBG” was the best known figure, often votes in concert to defend the right of women to have an abortion, of homosexuals to marry or of immigrants.
Appointed to the high court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had become extremely popular despite the seriousness of her post. Thanks to its positioning in phase with the aspirations of the youngest, it had conquered them, to the point of earning the nickname of “Notorious RBG” in reference to the rapper Notorious BIG.
Despite his positioning on the left, Republicans and Democrats immediately paid tribute to him. “Justice Ginsburg paved the way for so many women, including me. There will never be anyone like her. Thank you RBG, ”tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
She “was a pioneer, passionate about her causes, she served the Supreme Court with honor and distinction,” added Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close friend of the president.
Republican Senate leader ready to hold vote if Trump appoints successor to Judge RBG
The Republican Senate leader has said he will hold a vote in the upper house of Congress if Donald Trump names a successor to Supreme Court dean Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday, ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
“We have pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, including his remarkable choices for federal judicial positions,” Mitch McConnell said in a statement. “Once again, we will keep our promise. President Trump's candidate will be entitled to a vote in the United States Senate. ”
Former First Lady of the United States Hillary Clinton paid tribute to her on Twitter.
The mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante, also paid tribute to Ms. Bader Ginsburg on Twitter.