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Obama calls on Senate not to fill Ginsburg's vacancy until after election

Former President Obama called on the Senate not to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgProgressives give Biden's court reform panel mixed reviews Biden will let Breyer decide when to retire, aide says Biden establishes commission to study expanding Supreme Court MORE on Friday, urging Republicans to live up to the standard they set in 2016 when they refused to give a hearing to his final nominee, Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandBudget tasks DOJ with turnaround of policing, voting rights, hate crimes Progressive group ramps up pressure on Justice Breyer to retire The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE.

Obama, in a statement responding to Ginsburg's death, praised the late judge as a "warrior for gender equality" who showed "unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals."

The former president also nodded to Ginsburg's reported statement to her granddaughter before her death that her "most fervent wish" was that her replacement be named by the next president. Ginsburg died earlier Friday. She was 87.

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"Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in," Obama said.

"A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment," he continued. "The rule of law, the legitimacy of our courts, the fundamental workings of our democracy all depend on that basic principle.

"As votes are already being cast in this election, Republican Senators are now called to apply that standard," Obama said.

The court's decisions in the coming years "are too consequential to future generations for courts to be filled through anything less than an unimpeachable process," the former president said.

Obama's statement was a nod to the political ramifications of Ginsburg's death less than 50 days before the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden to meet Monday with bipartisan lawmakers about infrastructure 100 business executives discuss how to combat new voting rules: report Arkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' MORE (R-Ky.) said in a statement on Friday night that he will advance a nominee from President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE.

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Trump, who was on stage at a campaign rally in Minnesota when news broke that Ginsburg had died, has not commented on whether he plans to put forward a nominee. Sources close to the administration expect Trump to do so, however.

Democrats and progressive outside groups quickly called for Ginsburg’s seat to be held open until next year, similar to McConnell’s decision to not hold a vote for Garland. Obama nominated Garland after Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, but Republicans held the seat open until 2017 and confirmed Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchTop GOP super PAC endorses Murkowski amid primary threat Trump-era grievances could get second life at Supreme Court Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle MORE, Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee.

"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," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerNY Times beclowns itself by normalizing court-packing 'to balance the conservative majority' The first Southern state legalizes marijuana — what it means nationally H.R. 1/S. 1: Democrats defend their majorities, not honest elections MORE (D-N.Y.) said in a tweet, using McConnell’s exact words from 2016.