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New Day Saturday

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies At 87; McConnell: Trump's Nominee To Replace Ginsburg Will Get Senate Vote; Two Dead, 14 Injured After Shooting In Rochester, NY; Trump: Coronavirus Vaccine For Every American Available By April; U.S. Nearing 200,000 Deaths Linked To COVID-19. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired September 19, 2020 - 07:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you America. Today is mourning the loss of a Supreme Court justice and liberal icon. It is Saturday, September 19th. I'm Victor Blackwell.


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the nation's highest court. And even before then, she was already a feminist trailblazer. Well, she died yesterday from complications due to pancreatic cancer. She was surrounded by her family in Washington, D.C. She was 87 years old.

And you'll notice this morning, flags are flying at half-staff at the White House. The same honor ordered at the Capitol and the Supreme Court and crowds gathered for a vigil on the steps of the high court after the news broke last night.

BLACKWELL: And they came because of the legacy, the rich legacy that she left behind is also that powerful decision has to be made on who will be nominated to replace her on the court 45 days out from what is already a heated presidential election with early voting in some states happening already.

There is the question of how this will change the court. More on the political fights that are already happening. We'll talk about those in a moment.

PAUL: Yes. CNN's Jessica Schneider, though, has a look at Ginsburg's life at this incredible grit and tenacity that she was known for. And, of course, which earned her the nickname, Notorious RBG.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's rise from a humble Brooklyn neighborhood to the nation's highest court was a classic American story. RUTH BADER GINSBURG, FORMER ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: What is the difference between a bookkeeper in New York's common district and a Supreme Court justice? Just one generation my mother's life and mine bear witness where else but in America would that happen?

SCHNEIDER: She was smart, tied for first in her class at Columbia Law School. But in the late 50s and early 60s, the glass ceiling stood firm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were three strikes against her, first, she was woman, second, she was Jewish, third, she had a young child.

SCHNEIDER: She turned to teaching law and fighting gender discrimination for the ACLU.

MARGO SCHLANGER, FORMER GINSBURG CLERK: Very much with the model of the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund led by Thurgood Marshall. She had this idea that you have to build precedents step by step. In 1980, Ginsburg became a federal appellate court judge.


GINSBURG: So help me God.

SCHNEIDER: Thirteen years later, she was named to the Supreme Court by President Clinton, the second woman on the bench. The first, Sandra Day O'Connor, was glad to see her.

SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR, FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: The minute Justice Ginsburg came to the court, we were nine justices. It wasn't seven and then the women, and it was a great relief to me.

SCHNEIDER: As a Justice, Ginsburg consistently voted in favor of abortion access and civil rights. Perhaps her best-known work on the court, writing the 1996 landmark decision to strike down the Virginia Military Institute's ban on admitting women. She was also known for her bold dissents. Like the one she wrote when the court stopped the 2000 Florida ballot recount, struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act and ended the contraception mandate for some businesses under the Affordable Care Act.

GINSBURG: In our view, the court does not comprehend or is indifferent to the insidious way in which women can be victims of pay discrimination.

SCHNEIDER: In 2007, the High Court ruled against Lilly Ledbetter, a factory supervisor at a tire plant and a high-profile pay discrimination case. Ginsburg urged Congress to take up the issue in her dissent. Twenty months later, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill that President Obama signed into law.

After Justice John Paul Stevens retired in 2010, Ginsburg became the most senior of her liberal colleagues, but she didn't slow down. Stephen Colbert discovered that the hard way, trying to keep up with RBG's famously tough workouts. STEPHEN COLBERT, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: I'm cramping, and I'm working out with an 85-year-old woman.

SCHNEIDER: Ginsburg hired a trainer after treatment for colorectal cancer in the late '90s. In 2018, doctors treating the justice for broken ribs discovered cancerous growths on her lung. The surgery was successful, but the recovery caused Ginsburg to miss oral arguments at the Supreme Court for the first time in her career. She was also treated several times for pancreatic cancer, but always stayed up on her court work. Even after losing her husband 56 years to cancer, Ginsburg was back on the bench the next morning.

GINSBURG: I love the work I do. I think I have the best job in the world for a lawyer. I respect all of my colleagues and genuinely like most of them.


SCHNEIDER: Her best friend on the bench was the late Justice Antonin Scalia, her ideological opposite.

ANTONIN SCALIA, FORMER ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: And what's not to like? I accept her views of the law, of course.

SCHNEIDER: They shared a laugh about Ginsburg drinking wine before nodding off at the State of the Union.

GINSBURG: I was 100 percent sober because before we went to the State of the Union, we had dinner together, and Justice Kennedy brought in --

SCALIA: Well, that's the first intelligent thing you've done, RBG.

SCHNEIDER: In her later years, she gave rock star status with millennials, thanks to social media.

GINSBURG: It was beyond my wildest imagination that I would one day become the Notorious RBG.

SCHNEIDER: The nickname was a play on the name of the late rapper, the Notorious BIG. There were books, clothing, tattoos, even a species of praying mantis in her honor, along with a recurring SNL sketch,

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just got Ginsburned (PH).

SCHNEIDER: There was a feature film on the basis of sex, and a documentary produced by CNN, RBG was an unexpected box office hit and gave the justice an even larger platform to share her lifelong mission of gender equality.

GINSBURG: People asked me sometimes, when will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is, when there are nine.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: Justice Ginsburg, she left this profound impact on the court. And whoever now ultimately takes her seat, could certainly shift the balance of the court for decades.

BLACKWELL: And her granddaughter told NPR that days before her death, she lost her strength, and she had just enough to dictate this statement, I'm going to read it for you, "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

PAUL: So, she had her mind on what was to come and so does the Senate. They're already kicking off a political fight over the court. And the nation's capital debate is raging over whether a nominee would even be put forward before the election.

BLACKWELL: So as the news spread of her death, the President was speaking at a rally. This is in Minnesota. He was already on stage. And apparently, he didn't know what had happened and how the campaign had changed.

Let's go to CNN's Joe John's at the White House. Joe, tell us about what the President said as he left that stage.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it was a little bit unusual. You'd never know from the President's statements, at least publicly, that we're looking at a power struggle over the court in the waning days of this election year in the United States. The president demonstrating a surprising amount of decorum, if you will, given the situation. And we know, behind the scenes, that the President has put together a list of names.

In fact, he actually put that list out the last week or two, names that he would present in the event that a vacancy opened up at the Supreme Court. The President simply praised Justice Ginsburg last night, after a speech in Minnesota apparently did not know during the speech that the news had broken of the death of Justice Ginsburg, then he talked to reporters before departure. Listen.




TRUMP: Well, I didn't know that. I just -- you're telling me now for the first time. She led an amazing life. What else can you say? She was an amazing woman. Whether you agreed or not, she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. I'm actually sad to hear that. I am sad to hear that. Thank you very much.


BLACKWELL: The White House later put out a formal statement about Justice Ginsburg, once again, no mention of a replacement. But the President and the people here in the administration do understand that who the President picks could affect his reelection chances, especially with religious conservatives, whose number one issue is overturning the case, Roe versus Wade and that line of cases that legalized abortion.

There's also, of course, a question here at the White House as well as up on Capitol Hill about whether it would be appropriate to name someone to replace Justice Ginsburg, so late in this election years. You remember four years ago, during an election year Barack Obama named Merrick Garland to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, but Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, refused to hold an up or down vote. This time, he says it's different essentially because there is a Republican in the White House.


McConnell also put out a statement. That statement essentially praising Justice Ginsburg as well, also saying at the very end, that the President's nominee will get a vote before the United States Senate. The question, of course, will be when, will that be before the election? Will that be after the election and a lame duck session? Just about anybody's guess at this stage. However, expect the President to at least float a name from his list out there and see what the Senate does. Back to you.

PAUL: All right. Joe Johns, good to see you this morning. Joe, thank you.

BLACKWELL: We've also heard from Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, he spoke last night about Ginsburg. He says that she was fierce and unflinching in her pursuit of civil and legal rights, and that her opinions will continue to shape the basis for our law for a generation.

PAUL: Candidate Biden also addressed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's pledge, as you heard Joe mentioned, to hold a vote for whoever President Trump nominates as a replacement.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me be clear that the voters should pick the President and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider. This was the position of the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That's the position the United States Senate must take today. And your election is only 46 days off.


CNN congressional reporter, Lauren Fox, with us now from Capitol Hill. So, Lauren, we know at least two GOP senators prior to Ginsburg's passing, of course, said that there's not enough time to confirm a new justice before the election. Is there a gauge of what kind of power Senator Mitch McConnell may have behind him in terms of those votes?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi, McConnell is going to be taking the temperature of his conference all weekend and all next week. Expect that this question, when to confirm the next justice, is top of mind this morning as McConnell talks to his conference about the next steps. Now, the couple of things to remember, there are pros and cons to doing this for McConnell, before the election, and there are pros and cons for doing it after the election. Right now, it sounds like the scenario most likely is to wait until that lame duck session. That's because, as these members have noted, there may not be enough time to fully vet a nominee and put them on the floor of the United States Senate before the election.

But you run a risk, what if the Senate flips? What if Democrats take control of the Senate even though Republicans would return in November for the lame duck session and still have control, moderates might be concerned if the voters have already spoken, what precedent that sets if they pick the next SCOTUS nominee? So, that is certainly top of mind for McConnell this morning.

But if you do this before the election, you run the risk of potentially putting some of your most vulnerable members, people like Susan Collins, people like Cory Gardner of Colorado, people like Thom Tillis in North Carolina, you put them on the line for having to take a very tough vote just weeks before their reelection.

So, those are the items that McConnell's weighing this morning. Certainly, he's going to be having conversations with his members. Democrats already urging McConnell to pause, put on the brakes and not approve any Supreme Court nominee until the results of the election are in. Here's what one member said, Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Her wishes should be granted. And she said, my most fervent wish, this was right before her death. My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.


FOX: And McConnell, last night, sending a statement to his members saying to keep their powder dry, not to dig in on any one position. And really, he is aiming that message at a couple members who he needs to be with him in the next couple of weeks.

Now, remember, McConnell only can lose three Republican senators. If he loses the fourth, he doesn't get that nominee and things could start to shift because even though the lame duck session members would return and likely Republicans continue to have the same number of senators, there is a chance if Mark Kelly wins in Arizona because it's a special election seat.

He could technically be sworn in at the end of November at the earliest. According to election experts, that could change the balance of the Senate just slightly, and the room for air McConnell has would decrease significantly. Christi?

BLACKWELL: I'll take it, Lauren. Senator Ted Cruz calling for the President to name a nominee next week. We'll see if that happens. Thanks so much, Lauren.


We got breaking news out of Rochester, New York. Two people are dead, 14 wounded. This was after a shooting on the east side of the city. This is from Rochester's interim Police Chief. Sixteen people were shot at a backyard party.

PAUL: Now, we're told when officers arrived at the scene, they found a chaotic situation. There were about 100 people running around, they say. The shooting victims were taken to local hospitals. They have non-life-threatening injuries. But police say there are no suspects in custody right now. So, we'll keep you posted when we learn more.

BLACKWELL: Live look outside the Supreme Court in Washington. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg served for 27 years on that court.

PAUL: We have more on how she transformed the court and really modern American life. Stay close.


BLACKWELL: Overnight, more reaction to the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg came in. We have this from President Barack Obama. This is part of his statement. "For nearly three decades, as the second woman ever to sit on the highest court in the land. She was a warrior for gender equality. Someone who believed that equal justice, under the law, only had meaning if it applied to every single American."


PAUL: He went on to say, quote, "Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn't about an abstract ideal of equality, that it doesn't only harm women, that it has real consequences for all of us. It's about who we are, and who we can be."

BLACKWELL: Irin Carmon, the co-author of the book, "Notorious RBG," she shared this quote on Twitter, "I asked her, when the time comes, what would you like to be remembered for? Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability and to help repair tears in her society to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has."

Irin is with us now. Irin, I want to apologize to you and just let you know what we're thinking about you and all of the people that spent so much time with her and looked up to her and loved her. I know that you really created a bond with her. Help us understand what she left, uniquely, for you and the way that you move forward in your life now.

IRIN CARMON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Christi, you know, we talk a lot about pioneers, people who were the first or the second. What was so inspiring about Justice Ginsburg is she never wanted to be the only one in the room. She wanted to create opportunities for all people, for women, but also she was passionate about racial equality. She was passionate about expanding rights, voting rights. She was somebody who moved through the world with a lot of integrity and a lot of norms. Family really mattered to her. You know, I had the enormous privilege of Justice Ginsburg officiating my wedding in 2017. And in June, I gave birth to my first daughter.

Before I even had a chance to write to Justice Ginsburg to let her know, she wrote to me during the Supreme Court's busiest week, and sent me an honorary RBG (INAUDIBLE) clerk t-shirt for my daughter. So, in addition to being a just absolute pillar of the law, and somebody who lived the reality, suggested by the ideals of feminism, she was also a person who was warm and connected and really made sure that there was this circle of people around her who were her true friends and who cared for her.

BLACKWELL: Your latest piece for New York Magazine, "The Glorious RBG" out this weekend. The difficulty of the last year with her health concerns, the return of cancer, the chemotherapy, she said in July that she was fully able to continue on the court. But what was her condition over the spring and summer?

CARMON: Well, unfortunately, she had repeated brushes with hospitalization, both related to the resurgence of cancer, as well as other medical issues that had her in and out of the hospital. And, of course, it was not really possible for the public to see her because of the intersecting catastrophe of COVID-19. The court was teleconferencing.

So, she actually hadn't been seen in public since the spring. And I think that that also allowed her to continue her care outside of the public eye, even though, compared to other public figures, she was enormously transparent about her health.

Now, she made it very clear what her feelings were about President Trump, including in an interview to CNN, where she called him a faker. She made it very clear that she wants to be replaced after the election. And I think that, unfortunately, she may not get to choose, but I think that the kind of determination that she had to continue doing her work throughout her health, reflects that desire to keep on going and to go for as long as she can, and unfortunately, her time run out.

PAUL: This picture we're looking at, we're looking at there, it was always so striking to me, because she was known for a smaller size, but a giant ambition and person -- well, and perseverance, we should say. And we saw her in different realms, you know -- I mean, she's on t-shirts, and on Saturday Night Live, and I always look at this picture. And I think, you know, though she'd be but little, she is fierce, you know, that quote from Shakespeare.

Was she surprised at her pop culture status? Because that's what it was, is she really grew from justice to something and someone that was much more popular than most?

CARMON: Yes. Well, you know, my co-author, Shana Knizhnik, started Notorious RBG as a Tumblr to celebrate Justice Ginsburg's dissent in the Voting Rights Act case in 2013. She was not looking to start a viral phenomenon, but there was just an absolute outpouring of love and affection for Justice Ginsburg that has not abated since.


And keep in mind that when this happens, she was 80 years old. Now, 80-year-old women, 87-year-old women don't tend to generally be viral -- or didn't at that point viral sensations. They are not considered our heroes. They are not considered our icons. And we still have far too few women in positions where they can really represent for other women.

And so, I -- you know, I think she was actually pretty jazzed by it. I think she thought it was cool. The one place that she told me repeatedly that she thought crossed the line was when people got permanent tattoos of her face. At which point you kind of remember that she's still a Jewish grandmother. She thought that went too far.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I can imagine how that'd be a bit jarring.

Irin Carmon, thank you so much for sharing your memories and this great piece, The Glorious RBG. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

PAUL: Thank you, ma'am.

CARMON: Thank you.

PAUL: So, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second woman nominated to the Supreme Court. And after the break, we're going there to hear how her fellow justices are remembering their colleague this morning.



BLACKWELL: There were candlelight vigils last night far beyond the steps of the Supreme Court. You seeing video here from San Francisco on the left of your screen, Denver on the right.

PAUL: Hundreds of people showed up on the steps of the Supreme Court though, paying tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you just feel gravitated to be here. I mean, it's for younger folks like ourselves she represents so much, so much progress that's been made, and so, it's just felt like a natural place to be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just felt like I should bring my daughter down here and kind of demonstrate to her the impact that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had on our family. As a -- as a military service member, I had followed her in the things that she did to open schools up for especially, VMI, for all genders. So, I thought I should bring my daughter down. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I actually was at an event -- at an event earlier this year in February where she was speaking, and it just to be in the same room as her, I felt you could feel the power of her presence and the impact she's had in our society and throughout history. And just to know that she's no longer with us, it just feels like such a loss.


PAUL: Ariane de Vogue, live at the Supreme Court now. You know, for 27 years, Ariane, she has had a voice there, she has had a seat there, and it is hard to look at those justices without her in their presence. What are her fellow justices saying about the loss of her?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, you're absolutely right, because she was small in stature, but she roared in her opinions, and she made her way even before she was on the Supreme Court. As a young lawyer, she changed the area of gender discrimination, she flung open the doors. Just so many young women who were trying to get up in the legal field. It was because of her, she cleared the path for it.

And somehow, she became this icon. There was swag everywhere, t-shirts that said you can't have truth without Ruth. Mugs. Some people got tattoos. She was known mostly for her big majority opinion in that VMI case, striking down an all-male admissions policy in a state university.

But really for her dissents, right? She was in dissent a lot in Bush v. Gore, in a pay discrimination case. And when the Supreme Court struck down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act, she wrote a scathing dissent.

But she also had this way of inspiring her colleagues on the bench. Not only did she inspire women across the country, but to hear Justice Kagan and Justice Sotomayor, who joined the bench afterwards, talk about her, and how they felt like their path had been made so much easier by the fact that she had cleared the way.

And even Chief Justice John Roberts last night, he issued a poignant statement. He said, "Our nation has lost a jurist of historic stature. We, at the Supreme Court, have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence, that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice." That's what Chief Justice John Roberts' said.

BLACKWELL: So, dedicated even during all of those health challenges to listen to oral arguments and participate. She would certainly be missed by all those people we saw there last night.

Ariane de Vogue on the steps of the Supreme Court, thank you so much.

DE VOGUE: Thank you.

PAUL: And there are political implications of this. CNN political analyst Toluse Olorunnipa, White House reporter for the Washington Post with us now. Toluse, so good to see you this morning. You know, up to this point, this election has been swirling around COVID. We're all waking up this morning to what may be a very different dynamic and trajectory in this election. Walk us through that. Will you please?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, that's exactly right. This election really has changed dramatically just over the course of the last 24 hours, with the prospect of the shaping of the Supreme Court on the ballot in a way that could change the narrative on major American policy issues for the next several decades. And I think that's something that both Republicans and Conservatives and Moderates, as well as Liberals and Democrats, are really focusing on.

Not only the political machinations of how this seat will be filled, whether it's before the election, whether it's during the lame-duck if President Trump were to lose, whether it is able -- if the Democrats are somehow able to convince enough Republicans that they should stick to their rule that they set four years ago and not fulfill a seat before a presidential election.


OLORUNNIPA: That's going to be a major fight ahead of this election and the focus will really increase on some of the issues that have come before the court in the past few years. Healthcare, voting rights, issues about separation of power, and the power of the executive office.

All of these things that have come to the fore during President Trump's term are increasingly on the ballot as a result of a -- of the Supreme Court vacancy.

BLACKWELL: 45 days out from the election, we know this is a fight the president wants to have, that leader McConnell wants to have. I'm trying to figure out if this is a fight that some of the more vulnerable members of the Republican conference in the Senate want to have.

Let's put up some of the numbers. Quinnipiac latest poll has Susan Collins in Maine, 12 points behind Sarah Gideon. In South Carolina, the Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham tied at 48 percent with Jamie Harrison.

You've got three vulnerable Republicans on Senate judiciary. You add Thom Tillis in North Carolina to that list. I don't know if Susan Collins wants people to -- the moderates in her state to remember her role in the Kavanaugh confirmation 2018. What's your take on this? Is this good for those vulnerable Republicans, especially those we just put up?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, those Republicans are going to face a lot of pressure, not only from Mitch McConnell and their Republican colleagues but also from their voters. A lot of them, several of them, including Susan Collins have said in the past, and Lindsey Graham, they've said in the past, we would not fulfill a seat if one were to become open in the final months of a presidential term. They've said it on the record, they said -- they've said it publicly. They would have to break their pledges, their promises, their past declarations to do that, and that's something that voters understand and voters are willing to hold people accountable for, especially in this day when there's a lot of disdain for career politicians.

So, there will be a lot of pressure on them, but they also will be heavily under pressure from their Republican colleagues to not break ranks, to stick with the team, to do what Republicans have wanted to do for decades which is to secure a very formidable majority on the courts.

So, I wouldn't be surprised if they really find themselves in the vortex of this high-pressure campaign from both sides, and they keep us waiting for quite a while before we know exactly how they're going to respond.

PAUL: Oh, yes, because we know the balance of the bench is particularly delicate right now. But, I do want to look real quickly here at something that Lindsey Graham said in this day and age when we are talking a lot about how words matter. Here is what he said back in 2016, March 10th. Take a look.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This is the last year of a lame-duck president. And if Ted Cruz or Donald Trump get to be president, they've all asked us not to confirm or take up a selection by President Obama.

So, if a vacancy occurs in the last year of their first term, guess what? You will use their words against them. I want you to use my words against me. If there's a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, Lindsey Graham said, let's let the next president who -- whoever it might be make that nomination, and you could use my words against me.


PAUL: How much do those words from Senator Graham matter right now?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, those are the most fervent declarations among the many declarations we've heard from Republicans over the past few hours as we've rolled the tape. Essentially saying, this is exactly what I will do. There no sort of wiggle room.

If he is reversing himself, he would have to make a complete 180 and go back on his word. It's not -- it would not be the first time a politician did that. But, but that tape could come to haunt him in his -- in his race, it could come to dug him as he tries to justify any decision that he makes.

He has already gone on the record and said, use these words against me, and I'm sure that Democrats and their -- you know, allies will continue to use those words against him as he -- at some point, let us know exactly how he's going to respond and whether he's going to break his word, because that's what it would require for him to decide to hold a vote before, you know, just though in a few weeks before an election in the last months of a first term of a president.

BLACKWELL: Toluse Olorunnipa, always good to have you. Thanks so much.

PAUL: Thank you, sir.



PAUL: Still to come, health experts are concerned that President Trump's claim about a coronavirus vaccine for all Americans will be available by next April. How realistic is that? We'll talk about it.


BLACKWELL: Well, this morning, the coronavirus death toll is getting closer to 200,000 in the U.S. And almost 30 states are reporting a surge in cases.

PAUL: Yes, the president is touting that a vaccine will be ready for everyone in the U.S. by April of next year. That's a timeline that is dubious to health experts. Here's CNN's Natasha Chen.


TRUMP: Will have manufactured at least 100 million vaccine doses before the end of the year.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump made a jaw- dropping declaration from the White House on Friday.

TRUMP: And likely much more than that.

CHEN: Despite no proven vaccine yet, he even went further, promising enough for all Americans by April.

TRUMP: By far, the vaccines are going through the gold standard of clinical trials and very heavy emphasis placed on safety. Three vaccines are already in the final stage. Joe Biden's anti-vaccine theories are putting a lot of lives at risk, and they're only doing it for political reasons, it's very foolish.

CHEN: Trump's timeline contradicts the one given earlier in the week by Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Redfield said there wouldn't be widespread vaccination until late spring or summer of next year.

BIDEN: I can't think of any president who's ever acted, in my view, so selfishly about his own reelection, instead of a sworn obligation to protect and defend the American people.

CHEN: In the meantime, the U.S. will soon hit 200,000 deaths since the COVID-19 pandemic began, outpacing all other countries.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We grow numb to the numbers.

CHEN: And behind each number is a person and family struggling. Justin Vine recently woke up from a medically induced coma, 56 days after being put on a ventilator.

JUSTIN VINE, COVID-19 SURVIVOR: Oh, it definitely changed my perspective on like to life and this (INAUDIBLE). Now, I see this in a more real way, I knew it was serious before but this is a -- this are real, it could -- it affects everybody pretty differently, but by perspective on life, it's just, you know, the time we have is precious.

CHEN: For nearly two months while he was in a coma, the seven-day average of new cases saw an overall decline around the country. But in recent days, it has ticked slightly upward, along with a seven-day average of new deaths.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be a nasal swab on both sides, OK?

CHEN: This is happening in every region of the country, including the northeast which had quashed its initial outbreak in the spring.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're being cautious, but, probably, a lot of kids coming back from all over the country to college has a little bit of an impact.

CHEN: Outbreaks among the college population in boulder Colorado prompted new testing sites to be set up there. And two college football games this weekend have been postponed due to athletes testing positive.

The Kansas City Chiefs, one of the few NFL teams to allow fans in the stadium in the first week had a fan test positive after its September 10th game. Now, 10 others who were in close contact have to quarantine.

On Friday, the CDC updated its guidance to once again emphasize that anyone who has been in contact with an infected person should be tested even if there are no symptoms.

Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


BLACKWELL: Thanks, Natasha. Of course, we'll have more on the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg throughout the show, throughout the morning. And tonight, be sure to watch a special CNN film, RBG, tonight at 10:00, right here on CNN. We'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: If you're on social media, no doubt you've seen the tributes to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Let's read a few of them. Tennis legend, Billie Jean King, she tweeted this. "Those who believe in equality and freedom must fight for the ideals she championed. For her, for us, for generations to follow."

PAUL: And Apple CEO, Tim Cook, wrote this. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent her life in pursuit of an equal world. She fought for the unheard, and through her decisions, she changed the course of American history."

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, known as the Notorious RBG. It's a nod to rapper and fellow Brooklynite, of course, Notorious B.I.G.

BLACKWELL: Now, she earned that title for her fierce battles over equal rights and also her resilience in the face of the personal loss and health complications. We're going to leave you this morning with some of her remarkable speeches over the years.


GINSBURG: If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself, something to repair tears in your community. No door should be closed to people, willing to spend the hours of effort needed to make dreams come true.

We are a nation made strong by people like you. In my lifetime, I expected to see three, four, perhaps, even more women on the High Court bench. Women not shaped from the same mold, but of different complexions.

We are, at last, beginning to relegate to history books the days of the token one at a time woman.

The number of women who have come forward as a result of the Me Too movement has been astonishing. My hope is not just that it is here to stay, but that it is as effective for the woman who works as a maid in a hotel, as it is for Hollywood stars.

I have had the great good fortune to share life with a partner who believed at age 18 when we met that a woman's work, whether at home or on the job, is as important as a man's.

It helps sometimes to be a little deaf. I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through 56 years of a marital partnership. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court of the United States


GINSBURG: When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one's ability to persuade. To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you. That's what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one's community.

So much thank you.




MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN HOST: RIP RBG. I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last night due to complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. She was 87.