US President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would nominate a new Supreme Court judge within days as Republican senators all but ensured the president’s nominee would not be blocked despite pressure from Democrats.
Trump said he would announce his nominee on Saturday, a move which has been heavily criticized by Trump’s political rivals.
The Senate - which Republicans control 53-47 - is also at play during the Nov. 3 elections. It is the Senate, which approves the president’s nominee for Supreme Court justices.
Any tie during voting could be broken by the vice president.
A simple majority is needed for confirmation and Republican senators, including outspoken critics of Trump, have thrown their support behind the president’s bid to nominate a new justice.
In 2016, the Republican-led Senate refused to push through former President Barack Obama’s nominee after Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. The Republican senators say that Obama was the lame-duck president, which meant he had no chance of being president following the elections.
There are nine justices on the Supreme Court bench, and Trump has nominated two already. The tip favored conservatives 5-4, and following Ginsburg’s death, a Trump pick could further widen the gap in favor of conservatives with a 6-3 balance.
Trump, who is in his first term, has a chance to be reelected during this year’s race which pits him against Obama’s VP, Joe Biden.
The two frontrunners to replace Ginsburg, a liberal feminist, are two women and both are considered conservatives.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Judge Barbara Lagoa are the favorites.
Trump met with 48-year-old Barrett privately at the White House earlier in the week. She previously worked under Scalia in 1998 and is currently a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.
Lagoa, 52, who Trump has not yet met, is Cuban-American and from Florida. But those familiar with the process said interest inside the White House seemed to be waning for Lagoa amid concerns she did not have a proven record as a conservative jurist.
Lagoa has been pushed by Florida’s governor, and aides tout her political advantages of being Hispanic and hailing from the critical political battleground state.
- With AP