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Georgia Senate candidates weigh in on Supreme Court vacancy
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

U.S. Senate candidates in Georgia weighed in over the weekend on their social media and in formal statements about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Ginsburg died Friday, Sept. 18, of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer at age 87. She became the high court’s second female justice in 1993 and served for 27 years. 

President Donald Trump said Monday, Sept. 21, he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court by week’s end. 

Democrats, led by presidential nominee Joe Biden, are protesting the Republicans’ rush to replace Ginsburg, saying voters should speak first, on Election Day, Nov. 3, and the winner of the White House should fill the vacancy. 

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a trailblazer and brilliant legal mind,” Sen. David Perdue wrote in a statement. “She grew up in a time when the idea of a woman on the Supreme Court seemed unimaginable, yet with hard work, tenacity, and grit, she blazed a path for all women. Justice Ginsburg’s friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia was an example of rising above ideological differences and finding common good in humanity that should inspire all of us. Bonnie and I join the nation in mourning the loss of Justice Ginsburg, and we are praying for her family.” 

With the court beginning to hear cases next month, there is potential for cases to end in a 4-4 tie, which U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story said could result in fewer major rulings if the court is deadlocked. 

“The practical effect of that will be you would not see ‘new law’ being made because … the decision that’s up on review remains in place,” Story said. 

Trump allowed that he would accept a vote in the lame duck period after Election Day but made clear his preference would be that it occur by Nov. 3. 

“My prayers are with the Ginsburg family. Our country’s future is at stake, and President Trump has every right to pick a new justice before the election,” Sen. Kelly Loeffler said in a statement. “I look forward to supporting a strict constructionist who will protect the right to life, defend the Second Amendment, fight for religious freedom, and safeguard our conservative values.” 

Sen. Kelly Loeffler spoke at a campaign event for her re-election recently at the Sawnee Mountain Park community building. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with plans to begin the confirmation process, and the Senate GOP leadership team was to meet Monday behind closed doors on next steps. 

“(Rest in peace) to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, tweeted Friday, Sept. 18. “With (President Trump) nominating a replacement that values human life, generations of unborn children have a chance to live.” 

Collins followed up with a video where he said the issue was personal to him, drawing on his personal experience with his daughter, who was born with spina bifida. 

“People told us that the best choice we could make was to kill her while she was still in my wife’s womb. But Lisa and I chose life, because God gave that life,” he said. 

He said he would encourage Trump to appoint a justice who will protect personal liberties, such as religious freedom and the Second Amendment. 

Doug Collins
Doug Collins

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, also posted his thoughts on Twitter to remember Ginsburg. 

“We’re grateful for her life of extraordinary public service. She embodied the American creed of equal protection under the law. She made sure that it extended to women, to workers, and to those who live on the margins. As we consider her legacy, it’s important that we not rush through this moment and try to appoint a new member of the bench.” 

Warnock said the voices of the American people should be heard in the upcoming election before there is a vote on a new justice. 

Republicans hold a 53-47 edge in the Senate. If there were a 50-50 tie on a confirmation vote, it could be broken by Vice President Mike Pence. 

The Associated Press and Times reporter Nick Watson contributed to this report. See the original story here.