Hillary Clinton reflects on Ginsburg, warns of GOP’s attempt to ‘enact the greatest travesty’

Democrats must use everything possible stop Mitch McConnell's move to 'enact the greatest travesty, the monument of hypocrisy' after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death, Hillary Clinton says

Loading the player...

As the country mourns the loss of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday, Hillary Clinton took the opportunity to reflect on her legacy and shine a light on the way Senate Republicans have abused their power to shape the highest court in the land in their fashion.

The former Secretary of State appeared on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” that evening to comment on Ginsburg’s passing, stating that she was “devastated.” As a former lawyer and law professor herself, Clinton expressed how much Ginsburg was an inspiration to her and how her death leaves a “massive hole.”

“What Ruth Bader Ginsburg did was to make it abundantly clear that the Constitution had to explicitly, wherever possible, be interpreted as providing for the equal rights of men and women,” Clinton stated. Ginsburg, 87, was the second female to sit on the top court in 1993. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)

“I knew of her work, and so when the [Supreme Court] opening occurred and everyone was making their list, I said to my husband, ‘someone you should definitely look at is Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg’ … I thought that she was a historic figure,” said Clinton, who was the first lady at the time of Ginsburg’s nomination. “When she came to be interviewed” by Bill Clinton, “they just hit it off.”

READ MORE: How Ginsburg’s death could reshape the presidential campaign: ‘a fight of epic proportions’

Apart from her personal feelings about Ginsburg, Hillary Clinton went on to speak about the void that Ginsburg’s death leaves in the U.S. government.

“And now with her loss, it’s not only a personal loss, but it’s a real threat to the steady march toward progress that we need to continue,” Clinton said. “This is the hundredth year of the anniversary of women getting the right to vote. It took, you know, many more years before there were legislative protections for women of color, and we’re still fighting those battles.”

Clinton then turned to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, calling attention to the way McConnell politicized the Supreme Court after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in early 2016, an election year. McConnell blocked then-President Barack Obama‘s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, from being considered for the court, taking a gamble on President Donald Trump‘s odds to defeat Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee, in the race to succeed Obama that fall.

In this April 6, 2018, file photo, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg applauds after a performance in her honor after she spoke about her life and work during a discussion at Georgetown Law School in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

With another presidential election less than two months away, Clinton feels that it would be a “double standard” if McConnell allows Trump to fill Ginsburg’s seat.

“People talk about justice Scalia being an originalist, he was someone who was always trying to figure out what the founders thought. I often wondered during that time, when Mitch McConnell was truly wreaking havoc on our Senate and on our norms and values, and I would argue on the underlying original intent of the Constitution and the founders that presidents have a right to appoint judges to fill vacancies,” Clinton told Maddow.

“Mitch McConnel denied Barack Obama that right, and that set in motion a series of events that I think did great damage to the Senate that can only be remedied by removing Mitch McConnel as the leader of the Senate.”

The move left the ninth seat on the Supreme Court vacant for more than 400 days, the longest opening on the court since the 1860s, according to the New York Times, until Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch joined the bench in April 2017.

READ MORE: Majority Leader McConnell says a Trump Supreme Court nominee will receive vote by Senate

“That has to happen in this election by getting a Democratic Senate majority, but in the meantime, the Democrats who are in the Senate will have to use every single possible maneuver that is available to them to make it clear that they are not going to permit Mitch McConnell to enact the greatest travesty, the monument of hypocrisy that would arise from him attempting to fill this position,” Clinton said.

And that’s one thing McConnell has already signaled that he intends to do.

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” the Republican from Kentucky said in a statement after Ginsburg’s passing.

In a Saturday morning tweet, Trump said his party was “put in this position of power and importance to make decisions” and that “We have this obligation, without delay!”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

Loading the player...

Share