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Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have retired under Obama to prevent Trump from filling her seat, says Bill Maher

Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have retired before 2016 so president Donald Trump would never have had the opportunity to fill her vacated seat when she died, Bill Maher has said.

The liberal-leaning 'Real Time' talk show host also suggested Democrats failed to properly plan for the possibility that Ginsburg, known as RBG, might die while serving on the bench.  

“She should have taken the hint," said Maher, 64, referencing a trip RBG made to the White House to visit then-president Barack Obama in July 2013.

Mr Obama had a private lunch with RBG and is understood to have brought up her retirement, pointing out Democrats might lose the Senate, meaning he could lose the chance to appoint a justice.

"I mean, as great as she was in many ways, that really put us in a bad place because as I keep trying to say on my show, power begets power,"  said Maher.  

"When you lose power, you keep losing it. That’s where we are now. We lose presidential elections, they appoint justices..."

He added: "If the election winds up in the court, who do you think they’re going to go with? We saw what happened with Bush v Gore. That’s what I mean. You lose power and then you lose it again.”

Maher's remarks on RBG appeared to shock Mr Kimmel, who had been attempting to pay the HBO presenter a compliment on how well he handled the news of RBG's death. He was made aware of her passing live on air.

Following a cancer diagnosis, RBG died on 18 September aged 87. The Brooklyn-born justice served three successful decades on the court and became a liberal icon, praised for her defence of women's rights and equality.

During Wednesday's Jimmy Kimmel interview, Maher also lashed out at Democrats' handling of the Supreme Court while they were in power.

“Not like her death was a shock,” he said. “The Democratic plan for the supreme court was Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t die". And that’s why they’re such a loser party. I vote for them but they don’t know how to do politics.”

Amy Coney Barrett's accession to the bench has shifted the ideological balance of power in the supreme court firmly in favour of Republicans for a generation.

There are now six justices on the court regarded as conservative against  three who are considered liberal.

Justices' rulings have consequences for some of the most important and hotly contested issues in America, such as women's reproductive rights, health and taxes.

Ms Barrett, a pro-life Catholic, was confirmed to the court on 26 October and could start work as early as next week.  

During Senate hearings, Ms Barrett dodged questions on how she might rule on Roe v Wade, the landmark decision that made abortion legal.

She also avoided questioning on the Affordable Care Act, which president Trump is attempting to dismantle in a move that could strip millions of American of health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout the 2020 election campaign, Mr Trump has repeatedly sought to cast doubt on the legitimacy of November's election over debunked claims surrounding mail-in ballot fraud.

If the result is close, he says he may take the matter to the courts. Ms Barrett has so far refused to recuse herself from ruling on such a case.

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