A year marked by a pandemic, an economic crisis, and massive uprisings against racist police brutality grew even more calamitous with the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a decades long fighter for gender equality and voting rights.
With Ginsburg's death occurring only 46 days before the November presidential election, Republicans are scrambling to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice before January 2021, when Democratic nominee Joe Biden may be taking the inaugural oath.
In a statement delivered by her granddaughter, Ginsburg offered her final wish:
"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."
In a reversal of their early 2016 position in the wake of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia's death, Republicans say that it's not by any means too close to the election. Trump baselessly claimed that Ginsburg's final words were actually "written out" by Democratic lawmakers like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) or Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
And former White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, dismissed the wish in one of the more ironic takes in recent memory.
Fleischer said that "a Supreme Court justice doesn't get to pick the next president," while apparently forgetting how he came to work at the White House in the first place.
The 2000 election was historic in its uncertainty. The crucial swing state of Florida saw Republican nominee George W. Bush ahead by a razor thin margin of around 300 votes, low enough to trigger a machine recount. Democratic nominee Al Gore pushed for a hand recount of 70,000 ballots—a legal push he won in the Florida Supreme Court.
But when the case reached the United States Supreme Court, the mandatory recount was ruled unconstitutional, effectively resulting in the Court upholding Bush's lead in Florida, awarding him the Presidency, and changing the course of American history forever.
People didn't hesitate to remind Fleischer that a Supreme Court ruling resulted in his boss getting the presidency.
The irony, for some, was far too much.
President Donald Trump says he intends to announce his pick for Ginsburg's replacement as early as this week.