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'We can and must fight': AOC urges Americans to 'get to work' to defeat Donald Trump following Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death

‘Now is not the time for cynicism or hopelessness. There is and continues to be political possibility to preserve our democracy and move forward’

Alex Woodward
New York
Saturday 19 September 2020 05:19 BST
AOC reacts to McConnell's plans after death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has urged Americans to “grow in courage, strength and strategy” – from “the streets to the Senate” – in the wake of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, weeks before a crucial November election that could determine the fate of the US Supreme Court for generations.

“We have lost a giant in the history of our nation with the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” she said on Twitter. “It is heartbreaking that in her final moments she was, as are many others, preoccupied with what would happen after her passing. I want to make one thing clear: we can, and must, fight.”

The Democratic congressman said “now is not the time for cynicism or hopelessness.”

“There is and continues to be political possibility to preserve our democracy [and] move forward,” she said. “It will require each [and] every one of us, from the streets to the Senate, to grow in courage, strength and strategy. But it is possible.”

The death of the longtime liberal justice on the nation’s high court, and Donald Trump and his allies’ commitment to filling her vacancy before Election Day, has signalled “the fight of and for our lives,” the congresswoman said.

“That has always been true, [and] it becomes more true each day,” she said. “Opponents of democracy need your resignation to succeed. Don’t give it to them. … You do not need to, nor should you, ignore your fears – there is plenty to be afraid of – but we have possibilities before us.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Republican-controlled body will hold a vote to consider the president’s appointment to the Supreme Court, rejecting his own guidance in 2016, when he sought to block then-president Barack Obama’s appointment several months before that year’s election.

“Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary,” the GOP leader said in a statement. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate."

The Kentucky Republican successfully blocked hearings for Merrick Garland following the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia in February of that year.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer invoked Senator McConnell's own words in the New York Democrat's demands that the Senate delay filling the vacancy until after the results of the 2020 election, just six weeks away. 

His response: "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."

Justice Ginsburg, a mighty figure on the nation's high court and one of only four women to have served on it, died on 18 September following a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 87.

The death of the critical liberal justice on the court leaves three liberal-leaning justices among the eight remaining justices.

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