WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Saturday urged the Republican-run Senate to consider “without delay” his upcoming nomination to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just six weeks before the election.
“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us,” Trump tweeted, “the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!”
Ginsburg, a towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., vowed on Friday night, hours after Ginsburg’s death, to call a vote for whomever Trump nominated.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said any vote should come after the Nov. 3 election.
“Voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice to consider,” Biden said.
A confirmation vote in the Senate is not guaranteed, even with a Republican majority.
Typically it takes several months to vet and hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee, and time is short ahead of the election. Key senators may be reluctant to cast votes so close to the election. With a slim GOP majority, 53 seats in the 100-member chamber, Trump’s choice could afford to lose only a few.
McConnell did not specify the timing, but trying for confirmation in a post-election lame-duck session if Trump had lost to Biden or Republicans had lost the Senate would carry further political complications.
Democrats immediate denounced McConnell’s move as hypocritical, pointing out that he refused to call hearings for Merrick Garland, Obama’s pick, 237 days before the 2016 election. The 2020 election is 46 days away.
Trump last week added 20 names to his list of candidates he’s pledged to choose from if he has future vacancies to fill.
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