US presidential hopeful Joe Biden urged Senate lawmakers on Sunday to not vote on filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death until after the election in November.
President Donald Trump’s moves to rapidly replace Ginsburg were an exercise in “raw political power,” Biden said in a speech in the Pennsylvania city of Philadelphia.
The prospect of a Senate confirmation vote on a Trump nominee before the November 3 election has sparked furious pushback from Democrats desperate to stop Trump moving the court lastingly to the right.
“Voters of this country should be heard ... they’re the ones who this Constitution envisions should decide who has the power to make this appointment,” Biden said in Philadelphia. “To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise of raw political power.”
The former vice president rejected the idea of releasing the names of potential nominees, saying that doing so, as Trump did, could improperly influence those candidates’ decisions in their current court roles as well as subject them to “unrelenting political attacks.”
He reiterated his pledge to nominate an African-American woman to the court, which would be a historic first, if he has the opportunity.
Earlier on Sunday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she did not support Trump’s plan to move fast on filling the seat, becoming the second of the 53 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber to object publicly following Ginsburg’s death.