On Sept. 18, 2020, shortly after news broke that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, a controversy started swirling over whether her replacement should be named before or after the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Justices of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and serve for life. For these reasons, as political divisiveness increased over the past several decades, replacing Supreme Court justices has become an intensely partisan process.
In 2016, Republicans blocked then-U.S. President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland following the death of Antonin Scalia, arguing that Scalia’s passing occurred too close to a presidential election — Scalia died 269 days before the 2016 election — and that the nomination should be made by whomever the American people picked as their next president. House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for instance, said at the time: “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”
As McConnell reversed course in 2020, saying that Trump should be the one to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg (despite the fact that this seat on the Supreme Court Bench opened up just 46 days before an election), a quote supposedly uttered by Ginsburg during her final days expressing that her most “fervent wish” was not to be replaced by Trump started to circulate on social media:
The quote reads: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed.”
There’s no evidence that this quote was written by Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, or any other politician. This quote, transcribed by Ginsburg’s granddaughter, was released by her family shortly after Ginsburg’s death.