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Joe Biden, Delaware politicians react to Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death

Jeff Neiburg
Delaware News Journal

Sens. Chris Coons and Tom Carper both shared statements mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hours after her death Friday night, and both Delaware Democrats said a rushed nomination and confirmation should not happen.

Presidential candidate Joe Biden, having landed back in Delaware following a campaign visit to Minnesota, said: "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. This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016."

That last sentence is a reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to allow in March of 2016 then-President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland, citing an election year.

RBG OBIT: Second woman on Supreme Court had been nation's leading litigator for women's rights

McConnell issued a statement Friday night saying that President Donald Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the Senate floor.

NPR reported that Ginsburg said in the days before she died: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

The election is 46 days from Friday.

Coons said that "out of respect for [Ginsburg's] enormous contributions, with faith in our democracy, and mindful of the lasting consequences of her replacement, we should honor her final wish that she should be replaced only after the next presidential inauguration.

"Given all the challenges facing our country, this is a moment when we should come together rather than having a rushed confirmation process further divide us."

Similarly, Carper said: “On a night that should be reserved for lauding this incredible jurist’s achievements, I am loathe to even mention the political implications of Justice Ginsburg’s passing. However, I believe that I should make clear my views on the nominating process. We are in the midst of a presidential election; early voting is already underway in some states and millions of Americans are requesting ballots. The American people deserve to choose the president who will fill this vacancy.

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"If my Republican colleagues reverse course a few short years later and try to fill this vacancy before the next president is sworn in, it would be hypocrisy of the highest order. Therefore, I will oppose any Supreme Court nominee until after Inauguration Day, and I will do everything I can to fight for fairness – the principle to which Ruth Bader Ginsburg dedicated her entire life."

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U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., on Friday night that her heart "aches."

"Millions of women were able to achieve their goals, personal and professional because of the work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg," Blunt Rochester said. "Her work on behalf of her male clients was the truest mark of her commitment to gender equality and her entire career was a testament to the ideal of equal justice under the law. While small in stature, she was a giant of law, intellect, and American history. We were graced by her presence on earth. May her legacy live on through each of us.”

Coons said Ginsburg "was a towering figure in America’s long march toward gender equality and she inspired millions around the world. Her jurisprudence was guided by an unwavering commitment to the Constitution and justice for all Americans."

Biden presided over Ginsburg's Senate confirmation hearing in 1993.

"In the decades since, she has been absolutely consistent and reliable and a voice for freedom and opportunity for everyone. She never failed. She was fierce and unflinching in her pursuit of the civil and legal rights of everyone. Her opinions, her her dissent are going to continue to shape the basis of our law for generations. Tonight, and in the coming days, we should focus on the loss of her justice and her enduring legacy."

Contact Jeff Neiburg at jneiburg@delawareonline.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeff_Neiburg.