Colorado leaders react to the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Debate ignites over open Supreme Court seat 46 days from presidential election

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday, delivers remarks at the Georgetown Law Center on Sept. 12, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Tom Brenner/Getty Images)

Colorado officials reacted Friday with expressions of appreciation and grief to news of the death at 87 of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Phil Weiser, the Colorado attorney general, once clerked for Ginsburg. In a statement, he called Ginsburg “an iconic leader, jurist and role model.”

“Justice Ginsburg changed my life, teaching me about equal justice under the law and what outstanding legal work looks like — an important life-long lesson.”

Colorado House Speaker KC Becker described Ginsburg as a “trailblazing giant of American jurisprudence.”

“I am heartbroken to hear of her passing” Becker said in a statement. “Justice Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court the summer before I started law school, and throughout my years there she was an unyielding force of inspiration for myself and my fellow women law students.”

News of Ginsburg’s death also set off immediate speculation about whether President Trump and the GOP in the Senate, which must confirm a new justice and is ruled by a Republican majority, would attempt to fill the open Supreme Court seat before the Nov. 3 election, only 46 days away.

The McConnell-led Senate blocked President Obama’s March 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, saying the nomination came too close to a presidential election. “The American people are perfectly capable of having their say on this issue, so let’s give them a voice. Let’s let the American people decide,” McConnell said at the time.

However on Friday, McConnell had already indicated he would not abide by a similar principle this time.

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” he wrote in a statement.

Sen. Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican up for reelection this year, had not commented on the matter as of publication.

A spokeswoman for the state’s senior senator, Michael Bennet, a Democrat, issued a statement: “Senator Bennet believes the Senate should not confirm a new Supreme Court justice before the election or during a lame-duck session of Congress.”

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville appeared to encourage the president to fill Ginsburg’s seat.

“We need to protect the life of the unborn, we need to protect religious liberty,” Neville wrote on Twitter. “We need to protect the liberty and freedom I fought for and that my friends died for. People are depending on you (Gardner) and (Trump).”