Battle brewing over Justice Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat

Who is on the shortlist after President Trump announced his intention to nominate a new justice after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.
12:32 | 09/21/20

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Transcript for Battle brewing over Justice Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat
And justice Ginsburg had a huge impact not just on the court that American life in general she was a TrailBlazer from the beginning of her legal career. And more recently became a cultural icon tributes are pouring in for this morning from all across the country. Terry Moran has more on her life and legacy. Ins. Side the Supreme Court this morning justice Ginsburg seat on the bench draped in black and a black drape hanging over the courtroom doors as the makeshift memorial outside grows and the tributes continue. Including this from former President Bill Clinton who appointed Ginsburg to the High Court in 1993. Dinner time were triple or so Senecal. Ruth Ginsburg symbolizes everything is best about America. Then president truck responding to reporters minutes after a rally Friday in Minnesota offering his praise for a justice who openly scorned him. Dream let. Nine Q is an amazing woman. And an amazing night. Ruth Ginsburg's life was indeed astonishing. Barely five feet tall she became a giant of American law and American life to the sheer force of her intellect. And her determination. Alone I asked them not grandparent. If you think he did feet. Off our next. She was just the second woman named to the Supreme Court our path to the highest court in the land not an easy one a brilliant law student first at Harvard that it Columbia. She faced discrimination after graduating in 1959. She was tied for first and our pop. And debating New York City law firms and just weren't hiring women so she turned a civil rights law and argued and won five. I'd cases at the Supreme Court that revolutionized the law for women in America. Before taking her spot on the High Court bench in 1993. The increasingly full use of the talent up all of this nation's people. Polls lot of promise for the future. We could not have come to this point. And I'm sure we would not be in this room today. Without that determined efforts. Of men and women. Who chipped dreams alive. Dreams of equal citizenship. In this the days when. Few would listen. In her quarter century as a justice Ginsburg became a leader of the liberal wing on the court with powerful rulings on discrimination in voting rights. And abortion this is. Something central to a woman's. Her life to her dignity. And it's his decision. That she must make. For herself. She formed an unlikely close friendship with a strong opponent justice Antonin Scalia. And as the court shifted to the right her fierce dissents inspired generations. That notorious RBJ she came to be known a cultural icon unlike any other and me when you know. And everyone went to take the big head when I'm. She died Friday battling cancer and she had for two decades her incomparable legacy was to give new greater meaning. To those words engraved right there on the Supreme Court itself equal justice. Under law. And Terry Moran is with us now from the Supreme Court as well as constitutional law professor from Cardozo law Deborah pearl Steen good morning to you both thanks for being here. Morning morning Diane carry outs are with you the president says that he plans to nominate Ginsburg's replacement quickly. But we heard from Mary percent Amy Connie Barrett is on the top of that short list what do we know about her. Well she has all the qualifications that president trump would be looking for a she is eminently qualified she's very conservative and she's young for Supreme Court justice 48 years old. That's a trifecta she's really become Amy coney Barrett a rock star. Among conservatives especially Christian conservatives she is a devout Catholic she walks the walk of her faith. She's a person known to be very active in her community at Notre Dame where she was a law professor. Just seven children including two adopted from Haiti. And a down cinder and try child and when she was nominated to the federal appeals court. She underwent a grilling from donors giving California senator Dianne Feinstein. Who said to her I feel that the dogma is strong in you. That she was excessively Catholic or that her faith was spilling into her legal opinions was the implication from senator Feinstein backed moment. Made her a rock star many Christian conservatives sought as a kind of religious test even a kind of persecution. People who believe. That that they have a right to excise their faith even in the public square sir she is a lightning rod. And Donald Trump might like that to the fight might do him good in election that right now he is trailing. And Terry part of the reason this is turning into such a big debate is what happened in 26 team can you quickly explain some of the contacts there. And how this is expected to play out. Well as we've seen in Mary's fees when Justice Scalia died nine months before the election of 2016 Mitch McConnell said no we aren't even gonna have a hearing. No senator no that never happen in the senate. We are just going to have shut it down and there will be no nominee for President Obama because it was too close to an election where we are just six weeks. I McConnell saying we're gonna have a vote on president trumps nominee. And the question is can they do that and the answer is yes they can under the constitution is perfectly legitimate the constitution says the president serves from. Known on the twentieth of January till noon on the twentieth to generate four years later in the congress noon on the third of January until. Noon on the third of January after the next congressional election and so it is lawful and legitimate question should there. These are it is one of the things that. Congress is in the past and try to do is keep this court out of a muck and mire. Of the ferocity. Of political. Mudslinging that happens in Washington those days are gone this is a question of power now Republicans haven't and they will try to use it. To ever was except to you for some of the other names on the short list. Well so. What are the names it's getting a lot of our discussion this morning is Barbara look Allah whose also were relatively young a judge on the federal court in fla. She seems to be a favorite out of the Federalist society and a favorite of some political constituencies on the conservative side is based on that political and electoral importance of Florida to that president's reelection campaign for re election. Adam it really does seem to be setting up an interesting divide hurt mused. On abortion and the social issues that are so conservative it's so important to have fraction of the conservative electorate. Are. Expected in understood to be conservative. But she's much less of the judicial record on those cases than she had on some of traditional. Libertarian concerns like the power the administrative state the rates of corporations and issues of that nature. I'm so serious and interesting dialogue in that appears to be emerging. And dialogue the nice word for anything. Different factions have their conservative and Republican pretty. Worried about making sure that they're getting the kind of nominees. That that they want they feel like they've been. Burned once or twice spy chief Justice Roberts. Who did not decide in the way they want it on some cases including an important health care Hazen is coming back but where the court is coming term. I'm in they feel even to some extent the trade in one important case by justice course it's one of Princeton trust and nominees. And on issues as the right since lesbian gay transsexual. Bisexual people so. There are worried about making sure they know exactly who they're getting in this paye and and that's important it's always happens bet in this. Remarkable political climate in really from a political climate. Delay tends to advantaged. The opponents who who. Think that the president should as Terry was just pointing out not move forward at risk of really exacerbating what is already a deeply deeply divided. Electorate in and it moment when the election is already on going right voting is under way in Virginia. It's interesting to see how big politics has become such a big part of a position that is explicitly supposed to not involve politics at all. But Deborah I'm curious to know what issues do you think that will come before the Supreme Court this fall could have different outcomes because the benches and full. So there're there're two that jump out immediately the court will hear isolated to here in oral arguments. An enormously consequential case about that constitutionality. Of the ACH. What is commonly known as obamacare race and end this love this federal law among other things ensures that people can't beach ticked off they're private insurance or to cry denied credit health insurance coverage as a result of preexisting conditions. The administration the drug administration has taken the position throughout this litigation and he's taking it in front of the Supreme Court in this case that the entire law. The entire race CA must be struck down as unconstitutional. And wish it would go. Protection for preexisting conditions. That is a case in which justice Ginsburg. Herb wrote what is almost certain should be in upholding the law the constitutionality. Of the law. I am now I think the outcome of that particular case to be argued right after the November 3 but very much in question the other major senate cases that need be before the court. In the next. 36 months. Two including January 20 speech. Are some fraction of one or more of the already 300 plus cases that are pending in that lower courts to do wish the election how some of these cases are about voting procedures surrounding. Bag that they yen absentee balloting and other things have become much more important in light of the pandemic and the need to protect better safety under these circumstances. Others of these cases involve longer term questions about voter suppression. And voting rights and electoral fairness. But nonetheless. These cases are already moving their ranger district courts the circuit courts. And it seems hard to imagine that at least one. Of them won't make their way at least to a petition for review before the Supreme Court that before this is all over and especially bush. Heightens. Need to ensure that the political. Matching Haitians surrounding Supreme Court nominations are are kept separate Reese Sheppard is possible. From this supreme court's work of deciding what the constitution means. It's an argument that tends to favor waiting and not rushing to judgment on his appointment. And Terry on a brighter now I know that you've covered a justice Ginsburg on the supreme court for many years. I'd love to Lehman any favorite memories that stick out to you. You know Diane she was just an enormous presence here her passing leaves a vacancy. And that word is so true in every censored. That a black draped chair that there's a vacancy in the heart of this institution she was a formidable presence is as if no one was better prepared. At oral argument and you could hear it in her questions which were both extremely tough and extremely courteous. And I remember one time. All 1015. Years ago even after one of her. Bouts with cancer a procedure that she'd undergone gesture stop by the press room here which is on it doesn't happen all want the justices keep their distance more or less but she stopped by. Walked in all five feet of her cell and stood there we had kind of an awkward greeting and reporters who were there and somebody said justice Ginsburg how are you feeling. She paused for a moment she is woman who deployed silence to great effect kind of gathering the moment tour and then she said in that. Quiet voice that managed to combine both grace and steal. She said I'm not going anywhere. And we all laughed and she did it. So that's that's my memory justice Ginsburg a strong woman who managed to combine that grace and strength in a really unique way leaving her mark on the country. That's for sure the notorious RVG Terry Moran and professor Deborah Carl Steen thanks for joining us this morning we appreciate your time.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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