Fact check: Satirical claim that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Ginsburg's death




  • In Business
  • 2020-09-27 20:04:30Z
  • By USA TODAY
Fact check: Satirical claim that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Ginsburg\
Fact check: Satirical claim that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Ginsburg\'s death  

The claim: The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The headline of an article published by satire website The Babylon Bee is a nod to the contentious history between the Trump administration and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The Babylon Bee is "the world's best satire site," according to its website.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died of metastatic pancreatic cancer Sept. 18, is actually "alive," the article suggests, because the 9th Circuit overturned her death.

"In a close decision, the judges on the court have ruled RBG's death unconstitutional and will block Trump from nominating a replacement," the article says.

Ninth Circuit Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw was credited with issuing the ruling on the basis that Ginsburg's death was an "affront to the (Constitution)" and the "God-given right to abort as many babies as possible and sell their body parts for research."

Therefore, Ginsburg will still be considered "alive" by the law, the article says. As to how the court will accomplish this feat, Wardlaw admitted, according to the article, "We're still figuring that part out."

Any attempt to fill the vacancy left by Ginsburg will be blocked by the 9th Circuit until she can be cloned or resurrected, according to the article.

Predictably, President Donald Trump and fellow Republicans condemned the "ruling," saying, "This is a terrible ruling because we're racist and we hate women."

Fact check: 'Kingdom of God' comment by SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett lacks context in meme

Who is Judge Kim Wardlaw?

Kim McLane Wardlaw is a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a profile from the American Law Institute. Before her nomination to the court by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1998, Wardlaw worked for the Justice Department during the Clinton administration and was a government liaison to former Republican mayor of Los Angeles, Richard Riordan.

Wardlaw's most recent opinion was on Catherine Torres v. (Attorney General) William Barr on Sept. 24.

There is no record of any Wardlaw opinion on Ginsburg's death on the website for the 9th Circuit, but she participated in a panel discussion Friday about Ginsburg's life produced by the UCLA School of Law. There was no mention of "reviving" Ginsburg during the discussion.

Fact check: No guarantee Obama would've replaced Ginsburg with a liberal justice

9th Circuit has blocked Trump's policies

The Babylon Bee referred to a particular circuit court in its satire piece for a reason: The president is not a fan of the 9th Circuit, which covers much of the Western USA, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. The appeals court is based in San Francisco but has locations in Pasadena, California; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle.

Trump delivered a scathing rebuke of San Francisco U.S. District Judge William Orrick's ruling against an executive order in 2017 to cut off federal funds to cities harboring undocumented immigrants, USA TODAY reported.

"Out of our very big country, with many choices, does everyone notice that both the 'ban' case and now the 'sanctuary' case is brought in the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%). They used to call this 'judge shopping!' Messy system," Trump said in a chain of tweets April 26, 2017.

Orrick's decision came shortly after a series of rulings against the Trump administration's executive order banning individuals from entering the USA from certain Muslim-majority countries for various lengths of time, according to USA TODAY.

The 9th Circuit agreed with a Seattle federal district court judge by refusing to reinstate the ban, and it upheld a Hawaiian federal district court judge's nationwide halt of the administration's revised policy, though this decision left the door open for a review of vetting procedures.

The Justice Department's appeal of the 9th Circuit's ruling against the third version of the ban was taken up by the Supreme Court, which ruled in the Trump administration's favor, USA TODAY reported.

More: Federal court throws out California's ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines

In March, the Supreme Court overturned another 9th Circuit ruling against Trump's policy requiring asylum seekers crossing the southern border to wait in Mexico, pending approval of their applications. In that case, the high court blocked a federal district court's injunction that would have prohibited the administration from enforcing the policy. Last summer, federal appeals court judges on the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of an administration policy restricting federal funding to clinics providing abortion referrals, according to USA TODAY.

More: President Trump has transformed the federal courts, but John Roberts leads them

Under Republican control of the White House and the Senate since Trump took office, the makeup of the federal courts has become the most conservative since the Reagan administration, USA TODAY reported. Even the "historically liberal" 9th Circuit has transformed into a near-GOP-nominated majority during Trump's presidency.

Fact check: Ruth Bader Ginsburg was confirmed in 42 days, but it wasn't an election year.

Our rating: Satire

We rate this claim SATIRE, based on our research. A satirical article about the 9th Circuit "overturning" Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death has no basis in fact. It is true that the 9th Circuit has ruled against many Trump-era policies.

Our fact-check sources:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Only in satire could 9th Circuit overturn Ginsburg's death

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