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Thousands of mourners gather across America at vigils for Justice Ginsburg

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Thousands of mourners have gathered at vigils across America to pay their respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday after a battle with pancreatic cancer sparking a bitter war between Republicans and Democrats over her Supreme Court replacement. 

Americans paid their respects to the legal pioneer and champion of women’s rights at candlelight vigils and memorials stretching all corners of the country on Sunday evening, from the steps of the Supreme Court where she made history as only the second woman to serve as Supreme Court Justice to the school in Brooklyn, New York she attended as a girl. 

Donations to the Democrats have topped $100 million in the days after her death, as the party demands the Trump administration sticks to the standard it set back in 2016 that a vacant Supreme Court seat must not be filled until after the election.  

Tensions continue to mount along partisan lines with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell vowing to rush through a justice appointment while Democrats – and some dissenting Republicans – have blasted the move hypocritical and vowed to take unprecedented steps to derail their plans.  

MAINE: The late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is mourned during a vigil in Monument Square in Portland

IOWA: A family light candles at a vigil in Poppajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines where about 200 people gathered in honor of Ginsburg Sunday night 

WASHINGTON: Flowers, candles, cards and American flags are seen adorning a memorial at the Supreme Court 

MINNEAPOLIS: Hundreds gathered on the grass to honor Ginsberg at a memorial event Sunday night 

OHIO: Cuyahoga County judges are seen listening to speakers during a candlelight vigil outside the old Cuyahga County Courthouse

DELAWARE: Around 120 gathered outside the Wilmington Courthouse to pay tribute to Ginsburg Sunday night

Vigils sprung up across states including Maine, Washington, Minneapolis, Iowa, New York and Ohio Sunday night as thousands of Americans gathered to mourn the loss of Ginsburg, who served 27 years on the highest court of the land.

Many donned COVID-19 face masks sporting Ginsburg’s picture or with the word ‘vote’ emblazoned across them. 

Hundreds flocked to a vigil in Monument Square in Portland, Maine, where people lit candles and laid them next to a large sketch of the judge.  

Ginsburg’s image was projected onto the side of a building as night fell, alongside her nickname the ‘Notorious RBG’ while young children held up banners reading ‘We won’t let you down’ and ‘Rest in power RBG’. 

In Washington, flowers, candles, cards and American flags adorned a memorial at the Supreme Court and in Wilmington, Delaware, around 120 gathered outside the courthouse. 

Meanwhile, around 200 people gathered in honor of Ginsburg at a vigil in Poppajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines where families lit candles in commemoration of the judge.  

Over in Minneapolis, hundreds were seen sitting in a grassy area where they had gathered to honor Ginsberg at a memorial event.

The event began with a man blowing a shofar – the ram’s horn that is traditionally part of the Jewish High Holiday services – to honor Ginsberg while her initials were lit up in lights. 

MAINE: Mourners lit candles while Ginsburg’s image was projected onto the side of a building alongside her nickname the ‘Notorious RBG’

MAINE: Hundreds gathered in Monument Square in Portland to pay tribute to the legal pioneer Sunday night 

MAINE: One mourner wears a face mask with the word ‘vote’ across it as thousands come out across America to pay their respects to the late judge 

MAINE: Mourners including children held up banners with slogans including ‘We won’t let you down’ and ‘Rest in power RBG’

MAINE: Thousands of mourners have gathered at vigils across America to pay their respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

A candlelight vigil was also held outside the old Cuyahga County Courthouse in Ohio where the state’s judges gathered and listened to speakers talking about a pioneer of their profession. 

Judge Yvette McGee Brown, the first female African American Ohio Supreme Court Justice to be elected after taking office in 2011, spoke at the memorial event. 

At a memorial in downtown Atlanta, people held up banners honoring Ginsburg with one reading ‘Until your last breath you fought for us. Now we will carry forward your legacy. Thank you RBG’.

Hundreds also attended a vigil in front of the US Courthouse in New York to remember one of their own.

The hour-long event was put together by Indivisible Westchester, a local grass roots organization, and clergy from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths spoke at the event for the Brooklyn native. 

Ginsburg’s dying wish was that ‘I will not be replaced until a new president is installed’ – a wish many feel must be honored

Democratic fundraising site ActBlue said donations had been flooding in since news broke of Ginsburg’s death Friday

Democratic fundraising site ActBlue said donations had been flooding in since news broke of Ginsburg’s death Friday.

The non-profit tweeted that, in a little over 24 hours, more than $100 million in small-dollar donations poured in.    

‘Small-dollar donors have now given $100 million on ActBlue since 8 p.m. ET Friday, investing in candidates up and down the ballot and orgs on the front lines of the impending judicial confirmation fight,’ ActBlue tweeted Sunday morning.   

‘The grassroots is ready to fight to honor Justice Ginsburg’s legacy.’ 

Ginsburg’s dying wish was that ‘I will not be replaced until a new president is installed’ – a wish many feel must be honored.  

WASHINGTON: People lay tributes to honor the judge, who died Friday after a battle with pancreatic cancer

IOWA: A woman wearing her COVID-19 face mask at a vigil for Ginsburg in Poppajohn Sculpture Park

IOWA: A woman holds up a candle in honor of RBG, whose death has sparked a bitter war between Republicans and Democrats over her Supreme Court replacement

IOWA: Americans paid their respects to the legal pioneer and champion of women’s rights at candlelight vigils and memorials stretching all corners of the country on Sunday evening

IOWA: Des Moines residents gathered Sunday to honor Ginsburg who was the second woman nominated to the highest court in the land

Trump vowed to plow ahead with his Supreme Court nomination Saturday and urged the GOP-run Senate to consider it ‘without delay’.  

The move comes just six weeks before the election and has sparked fierce debate, with many Democrats – as well as some Republicans – insisting the seat must not be filled until after the election.   

The crux of the debate centers around the move made by Republicans back in 2016 – and led by McConnell – to block then-President Barack Obama from appointing a new justice to the court nine months before the election.  

Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 and Obama planned to appoint Merrick Garland to fill the position on the court.

Republicans refused to hold hearings or vote on a replacement until after a new president took office with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying: ‘the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. 

OHIO: Mourners hold up candles, flowers and a picture of RBG as they await speakers at a vigil in Cleveland

OHIO: Tensions continue to mount along partisan lines with Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell vowing to rush through a justice appointment following RBG’s death

OHIO: Yvette McGee Brown speaks during a candlelight vigil for Ginsburg outside the old Cuyahga County Courthouse. Brown was the first female African American Ohio Supreme Court Justice to be elected, taking office in 2011

OHIO: Justice Ginsburg died Friday night, which was the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year

‘Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.’  

The seat was not filled and two weeks after taking office Trump appointed his own choice Neil Gorsuch to the court instead.  

Democrats argue Republicans set a standard in 2016 by preventing an appointment during an election year and so now the shoe is on the other foot the same standard must now be honored.  

However, McConnell issued a statement Friday after news of Ginsburg’s death broke backtracking on his stance in 2016, saying Trump’s nominee would be voted for by the Senate. 

‘President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the Unites States senate,’ he said.  

Democrats have also pointed to there being more fraught timing with today’s nomination than in 2016.  

In 2016, the position was empty nine months before the election, while Ginsburg’s death comes just six weeks before the nation’s votes are counted and a president revealed. 

MINNEAPOLIS: People pick up electric votive candles from a table before a memorial service

MINNEAPOLIS: People pick up electric candles at a vigil while Democrats – and some dissenting Republicans – blast Trump and McConnell as hypocritical and vow to take action to derail their plans to rush through a justice appointment

MINNEAPOLIS: A man blows a shofar to hono Ginsberg at the beginning of a memorial service where her initials are lit up in lights 

GEORGIA: A woman holds up a banner reading ‘Until your last breath you fought for us. Now we will carry forward your legacy. Thank you RBG’ at a vigil in downtown Atlanta 

GEORGIA: Democrats are demanding Ginsburg not be replaced until after the election and a new president sworn in

NEW YORK: Hundreds of local residents attended a vigil to remember Ginsburg in her native New York

NEW YORK: The vigil in Ginsburg’s birth state took place in front of the US Courthouse and was put together by Indivisible Westchester, a local grass roots organization

NEW YORK: Clergy from the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths spoke during an hour long vigil in New York state

NEW YORK: Mourners of all ages gathered at the vigil that included music and the blowing of a shofar, the rams horn that is traditionally part of the Jewish High Holiday services

WHO’S WHO ON TRUMP’S SUPREME COURT SHORTLIST 

REPUBLICAN SENATORS

Ted Cruz, Texas. 49

Josh Hawley, Missouri. 40

Tom Cotton, Arkansas. 43

JUDGES 

Bridget Bade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 54

Stuart Kyle Duncan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 48

James Ho, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 47

Gregory Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 56

Barbara Lagoa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 52

Carlos Muñiz, Supreme Court of Florida. 51

Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. 41

Peter Phipps, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 47

Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. 43

Allison Jones Rushing, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 38

Lawrence VanDyke, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 47

CURRENT AND FORMER REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS 

Daniel Cameron, Kentucky Attorney General. 34

Paul Clement, partner with Kirkland & Ellis, former solicitor general. 54

Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. 46

Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general. 51

Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico. 56

Kate Todd, deputy White House counsel. 45

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday said the nation was ‘in an election’ rather than close to an election this time as early voting is already under way in Virginia.

‘People are already voting – it’s just a few days away. We are not close to an election. We are in an election,’ he said.

‘To try and decide this at this late moment is despicable and wrong and against democracy.’ 

Democrats have put several options forward to stall or counteract Trump rushing through the appointment for Ginsburg’s replacement. 

If four GOP senators join the Democrats this could stop a Supreme Court nomination going forward. 

Two GOP senators – Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins – have already dissented, vowing to derail Trump’s nomination plans until after the November 3 election. 

Other possible plans from Democrats include packing the Supreme Court or pursuing impeachment charges. 

Several including Rep. Joe Kennedy III have threatened to pack the Supreme Court if they capture the Senate in November and Republicans have already pushed through a conservative successor to Ginsburg.  

Kennedy III, who represents Massachusetts’ 4th Congressional District and is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, tweeted Sunday: ‘If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021. It’s that simple.’ 

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler wrote on Twitter: ‘If Sen. McConnell and @SenateGOP were to force through a nominee during the lame-duck session — before a new Senate and President can take office – then the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court.’  

Court packing is a controversial move, however Democrats argue it will be necessary to rebalance the court if Trump does not wait until after the presidential inauguration to appoint Ginsburg’s replacement. 

Other options on the table are the pursuit of impeachment charges, something House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not rule out in an interview Saturday. 

‘We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I’m not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country,’ she told ABC’s ‘This Week‘ when asked about the prospect.

‘This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election,’ Pelosi continued. 

‘Our main goal would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the people from the coronavirus.’ 

AOC echoed the possibility of pursuing impeachment charges at a joint press conference with Schumer Sunday saying there has been ‘an enormous amount of lawbreaking’ under Trump’s watch and branding Barr ‘unfit for office’. 

‘I believe that certainly there has been an enormous amount of lawbreaking in the Trump administration,’ she said, when asked about impeachment.

‘I believe Attorney General Bill Barr is unfit for office and that he has pursued potentially law-breaking behaviors.’

She said America must ‘use every tool at our disposal’ and turn to ‘unprecedented ways’ to stall the appointment and that means putting all options ‘on the table’.

‘I believe that also we must consider again all the tools available to our disposal and all these options should be entertained and on the table,’ she said. 

Trump announced Saturday night that his Supreme Court nominee will be a woman, spotlighting two conservative women as his potential pick. 

During a campaign rally in North Carolina, Trump declared ‘I will be putting forth a nominee this week, it will be a woman’, later adding his pick would be a ‘very talented, very brilliant woman’ because ‘I like women more than I like men’.  

As he left the White House for the rally, the president identified two women as front runners: Amy Coney Barrett, 48, of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa, 52, of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible nominees.

Who are Trump’s front-runners?

Amy Coney Barrett 

On Saturday afternoon, Trump named Amy Coney Barrett, 48, of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa, 52, of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible nominees.

Emerging as the favorite is Barrett, 48, a mother of seven children, including two adopted from Haiti and one with special needs.

 Her involvement in a cult-like Catholic group where members are assigned a ‘handmaiden’ has caused concern in Barret’s nomination to other courts and is set to come under fierce review again if she is Trump’s pick.

The group was the one which helped inspire ‘The Handmaids Tale’, book’s author Margaret Atwood has said. 

Barrett emerges now as a front runner after she was already shortlisted for the nomination in 2018 which eventually went to Brett Kavanaugh.

Trump called the federal appellate court judge ‘very highly respected’ when questioned about her Saturday. 

Born in New Orleans in 1972, she was the first and only woman to occupy an Indiana seat on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Married to Jesse M. Barrett, a partner at SouthBank Legal in South Bend and former Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, the couple have five biological and two adopted children. 

Their youngest biological child has Down Syndrome.

Friends say she is a devoted mother – and say with just an hour to go until she was voted into the 7th District Court of Appeals by the U.S. Senate in 2017, Barrett was outside trick-or-treating with her kids. 

Barrett’s strong Christian ideology makes her a favorite of the right but her involvement in a religious group sometimes branded as a ‘cult’ is set to be harshly criticized.    

In 2017, her affiliation to the small, tightly knit Christian group called People of Praise caused concern while she was a nominee for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. 

The New York Times reported that the practices of the group would surprise even other Catholics with members of the group swearing a lifelong oath of loyalty, called a covenant, to one another. 

They are also assigned and held accountable to a personal adviser, known until recently as a ‘head’ for men and a ‘handmaid’ for women and believe in prophecy, speaking in tongues and divine healings. 

Members are also encouraged to confess personal sins, financial information and other sensitive disclosures to these advisors. 

Advisors are allowed to report these admissions to group leadership if necessary, according to an account of one former member. 

The organization itself says that the term ‘handmaid’ was a reference to Jesus’s mother Mary’s description of herself as a ‘handmaid of the Lord.’

They said they recently stopped using the term due to cultural shifts and now use the name ‘women leaders.’ 

The group deems that husbands are the heads of their wives and should take authority over the family while ‘the heads and handmaids give direction on important decisions, including whom to date or marry, where to live, whether to take a job or buy a home, and how to raise children,’ the Times reported. 

Unmarried members are placed living with married couples members often look to buy or rent homes near other members. 

Founded in 1971, People of Praise was part of the era’s ‘great emergence of lay ministries and lay movements in the Catholic Church,’ founder Bishop Peter Smith told the Catholic News Agency. 

Beginning with just 29 members, it now has an estimated 2,000. 

According to CNA, some former members of the People of Praise allege that leaders exerted undue influence over family decision-making, or pressured the children of members to commit to the group. 

At least 10 members of Barrett’s family, not including their children, also belong to the group. 

Barrett’s father, Mike Coney, serves on the People of Praise’s powerful 11-member board of governors, described as the group’s ‘highest authority.’ 

Her mother Linda served as a handmaiden.  

The group’s ultra-conservative religious tenets helped spur author Margaret Atwood to publish The Handmaid’s Tale, a story about a religious takeover of the U.S. government, according to a 1986 interview with the writer.

The book has since been made into a hit TV series. 

According to legal experts, loyalty oaths such at the one Barrett would have taken to People of Praise could raise legitimate questions about a judicial nominee’s independence and impartiality. 

‘These groups can become so absorbing that it’s difficult for a person to retain individual judgment,’ said Sarah Barringer Gordon, a professor of constitutional law and history at the University of Pennsylvania. 

‘I don’t think it’s discriminatory or hostile to religion to want to learn more’ about her relationship with the group.

‘We don’t try to control people,’ said Craig S. Lent. ‘And there’s never any guarantee that the leader is always right. You have to discern and act in the Lord. 

‘If and when members hold political offices, or judicial offices, or administrative offices, we would certainly not tell them how to discharge their responsibilities.’

During her professional career, Barrett spent two decades as a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, from which she holds her bachelor’s and law degrees.

She was named ‘Distinguished Professor of the Year’ three separate years, a title decided by students. 

A former clerk for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, she was nominated by Trump to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017 and confirmed in a 55-43 vote by the Senate later that year.

At the time, three Democratic senators supported her nomination: Joe Donnelly (Ind.), who subsequently lost his 2018 reelection bid, Tim Kaine (Va.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.), according to the Hill.

She was backed by every GOP senator at the time, but she did not disclose her relationship with People of Praise which led to later criticism of her appointment. 

Barret is well-regarded by the religious right because of this devout faith.

Yet these beliefs are certain to cause problems with her conformation and stand in opposition to the beliefs of Ginsburg, who she would be replacing.

Axios reported in 2019 that Trump told aides he was ‘saving’ Barrett to replace Ginsburg.

Her deep Catholic faith was cited by Democrats as a large disadvantage during her 2017 confirmation hearing for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

‘If you’re asking whether I take my faith seriously and I’m a faithful Catholic, I am,’ Barrett responded during that hearing, ‘although I would stress that my personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear in the discharge of my duties as a judge.’

Republicans now believe that she performed well in her defense during this hearing, leaving her potentially capable of doing the same if facing the Senate Judiciary Committee.

She is a former member of the Notre Dame’s ‘Faculty for Life’ and in 2015 signed a letter to the Catholic Church affirming the ‘teachings of the Church as truth.’

Among those teachings were the ‘value of human life from conception to natural death’ and marriage-family values ‘founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman’.

She has previously written that Supreme Court precedents are not sacrosanct. Liberals have taken these comments as a threat to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

Barrett wrote that she agrees ‘with those who say that a justice’s duty is to the Constitution and that it is thus more legitimate for her to enforce her best understanding of the Constitution rather than a precedent she thinks clearly in conflict with it’.

Among the other statements that have cause concern for liberal are her declaration that ObamaCare’s birth control mandate is ‘grave violation of religious freedom.’

LGBTQ organizations also voiced their concern about her when she was first named on the shortlist.  

She has also sided with Trump on immigration. 

In a case from June 2020, IndyStar reports that she was the sole voice on a three-judge panel that supported allowing federal enforcement of Trump’s public charge immigration law in Illinois, 

The law would have prevented immigrants from getting legal residency in the United States if they rely on public benefits like food stamps or housing vouchers. 

Barbara Lagoa

Barbara Lagoa , 52, was named by Trump as one of his potential nominees to the Supreme Court. 

A Cuban American who parents fled to the U.S., Lagoa was born in Miami in 1967. She grew up in the largely Cuban American city of Hialeah.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, her parents fled Cuba over five decades ago when Fidel Castro’s Communist dictatorship took over. 

During the 2019 news conference in Miami announcing her appointment to the Supreme Court, she told the crowd that her father had to give up his ‘dream of becoming a lawyer’ because of Castro. 

If nominated to the nation’s high court by Trump and confirmed by the Senate, the mother of three daughters would be the second Latino justice to ever serve.

She served on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for less than a year after being appointed by Trump and confirmed by the Senate on an 80-15 vote

Prior to that she also spent less than a year in her previous position as the first Latina and Cuban American to serve on the Florida Supreme Court.

Lagoa is considered a protégé of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Trump ally.

Her position in crucial swing state Florida could help Trump politically.

Last week, she voted in the majority in a ruling that barred hundreds of thousands of Florida felons who have served their time from voting unless they pay fees and fines owed to the state.

This decision could have a major impact on the presidential race as Florida is often won by a candidate by only razor-thin margins.

‘Florida’s felon re-enfranchisement scheme is constitutional,’ Lagoa wrote in a 20-page concurrence, according to USA Today.

‘It falls to the citizens of the state of Florida and their elected state legislators, not to federal judges, to make any additional changes to it.’

In 2000 Lagoa was one of a dozen mostly pro bono lawyers who represented the Miami family of Elián González, a Cuban citizen who became embroiled in a heated international custody and immigration controversy.

In 2016 while in the Florida Third District Court of Appeal, she wrote an opinion reversing the conviction of Adonis Losada, a former Univision comic actor sentenced to 153 years in prison for collecting child porn. 

She ruled that a Miami-Dade judge erred in not allowing Losada to defend himself at trial. 

That same month she became unpopular with free press advocates when she was one of three judges who allowed a Miami judge to close a courtroom to the public for a key hearing in a high-profile murder case. 

They ruled that publicity surrounding the machete murder of a student in Homestead might unfairly sway jurors at a future trial. 

Lagoa is a graduate of Florida International University and Columbia University Law.

She is is a member of the conservative Federalist Society, which stresses that judges should ‘say what the law is, not what it should be.’

She is married to lawyer Paul C. Huck Jr., and her father-in-law is United States District Judge Paul Huck. 

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