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Pence Aide On Ginsburg's Deathbed Wish: Nomination Date 'Does Not Lie With Her'

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at age 87.
Kevork Djansezian
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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday at age 87.

The chief of staff to Vice President Pence on Sunday defended the administration's decision to ignore the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's deathbed request not to fill her seat until after the election, telling CNN that it was not Ginsburg's choice to make.

Shortly before dying Friday, Ginsburg dictated a statement to her granddaughter: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

"Today we as a nation mourn the loss of Justice Ginsburg," Marc Short said on CNN's State of the Union. "She's certainly a giant upon whose shoulders many will stand, and she blazed a trail for many women in the legal profession. But the decision of when to nominate does not lie with her."

President Trump said Saturday that he will nominate a woman to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat and that he expects to announce his nominee in the coming days.

"I think the American people wanted Donald Trump to be in a position to make these nominations, and it's his obligation to do so," Short said.

Republicans' scramble to nominate a new justice to the court just over a month away from the general election has led to accusations of hypocrisy in the face of the position they took after the unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.

At the time, Republicans successfully blocked the nomination of then-President Barack Obama's nominee to the court, Merrick Garland, citing the fact that it was an election year.

Republicans have said this year is different because they control both the Senate and the presidency.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican and chair of the Senate Rules Committee, told CBS' Face the Nation that there was "plenty of time" for a nominee to be confirmed.

"There is plenty of time to get this done. But to get it done before Election Day, everything has to work, I think, pretty precisely," he said.

At the time of Scalia's death, there were 269 days until the general election. At the time of Ginsburg's, just 46 days.

Following Scalia's death, Blunt wrote on Twitter: "The Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice until we have a new president."

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Alana Wise joined WAMU in September 2018 as the 2018-2020 Audion Reporting Fellow for Guns & America. Selected as one of 10 recipients nationwide of the Audion Reporting Fellowship, Alana works in the WAMU newsroom as part of a national reporting project and is spending two years focusing on the impact of guns in the Washington region.
Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.