FACT CHECK: Did Antonin Scalia Say His ‘Most Fervent Wish’ Was For Donald Trump To Fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Seat Upon Her Death?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Editor

An image shared on Facebook claims the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once said, “My most fervent wish is that president @RealDonaldTrump immediately replaces Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after her passing.”


Verdict: False

There is no record of Scalia saying or writing the statement. The quote appears to be a play on a dying wish Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dictated to her granddaughter.

Fact Check:

Ginsburg died Friday at the age of 87 from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer, per a statement released by the Supreme Court. In the wake of her death, a debate has been sparked over whether President Donald Trump should appoint someone to fill her vacant seat before the election in November, according to CNN. A similar debate occurred after Scalia died in February 2016, more than eight months before the 2016 election.

The post being shared features a picture of Scalia with an alleged quote from him that reads, “My most fervent wish is that president @RealDonaldTrump immediately replaces Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after her passing.” (RELATED: Would Reagan And Scalia Have Supported An Assault Weapons Ban?)

There is, however, no record of Scalia ever making such a remark. Scalia died months before Trump had even secured the Republican presidential nomination, so there is no way he would have definitively known Trump would be in a position to replace Ginsburg. University of Michigan law professor Rich Friedman told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an email that the quote is “an obvious fake.”

“Scalia, who died months before Trump was elected, and while he still seemed to be a longshot, would have had to be clairvoyant not only about the election but about the timing of Ginsburg’s death,” Friedman said. “And he wouldn’t have used Trump’s Twitter tag. This is nonsense.”

Gil Seinfeld, a former law clerk for Scalia and current law professor at the University of Michigan Law School, told the DCNF in an email that it would be “shocking” to him if Scalia made such a remark.

“Given the high esteem in which he held Justice Ginsburg (both personally and professionally), the likelihood of his speculating about her passing and calculating the judicial politics of the whole thing seems entirely implausible/not consistent with the man I knew,” he said. “So the notion that he articulated a vision for replacing RBG seems remote; the notion that he was imagining Trump doing the replacing seems even more remote; and the notion that he was speculating in particular about this coming up during an election seems fanciful to me.”

The alleged quote appears to play on a dying wish that, according to NPR, Ginsburg dictated to her granddaughter, Clara Spera, whom she told, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

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Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Editor
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