Ginsburg's death puts pressure on Biden to produce list of Supreme Court nominees

Democratic candidate has thus far failed to produce a rundown of potential justices.

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Biden speaks on the death of Ginsburg, Sept. 18
Biden speaks on the death of Ginsburg, Sept. 18
(Drew Angerer/Getty)
Updated: September 20, 2020 - 6:51am

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg on Friday has intensified pressure on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's to produce a list of potential Supreme Court nominees if he wins in November. 

Earlier this month, several weeks before Ginsburg's death, President Trump released his own 2020 list of potential nominees, an addition to his 2016 list. Among them are former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. 

Biden has thus far failed to release any such list.

The White House on Saturday called for his campaign to produce a rundown, with press secretary Kayleigh McEnany urging Biden to "tell voters where he stands" on the critical matter of high court justices. 

"We don't know who is on his Supreme Court list. We don't know what kind of justices he would nominate," McEnany told Fox News. 

Long a hallmark of U.S. presidential campaigns, the SCOTUS list telegraphs a candidate's intent to steer the court in a particular ideological direction.

Supreme Court justices can serve on the bench for a lifetime, shaping U.S. policy, politics and social issues for years on end. Ginsburg had served on the Court since 1993, just under 30 years. 

Beyond serving as marker for about Biden's ideology regarding the high court, his list could energize his base ahead of Nov. 3.

Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons says such a list from Biden isn't necessary. 

“He doesn’t need to issue some list in order for Democrats to be comfortable that they know his values and his priorities,” Coons told the Denver Post hours after the announcement of Ginsburg's death, arguing that voters are aware that Biden would nominate what Coons described as “highly qualified, mainstream jurists.”

On his official Senate website, Coons also urged his congressional colleagues to "honor [Ginsburg's] final wish that she should be replaced only after the next presidential inauguration," a request Ginsburg reportedly made just days before her death.

Though he has named no specific jurists, Biden has made at least one semi-specific commitment regarding the high court, pledging in March to name the first black female justice. 

"It’s required that [black women] have representation now," he said. "It's long overdue."

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