He told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that he had a list of five finalists, “probably four,” and that he is pushing for a confirmation vote before Election Day.
Trump disparaged reports that Ginsburg had told her granddaughter it was her wish that a replacement justice not be confirmed until the inauguration of a new president. Trump said he thought his Democratic political foes were behind the report, including Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the House impeachment probe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” Trump said. “I would be more inclined to the second … But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff.”
Trump already has named two conservative justices to the high court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. A potential third appointment could determine decisions that influence many spheres of American life including abortion, healthcare, gun rights, voting access, presidential powers and the death penalty.
Possible candidates include Amy Coney Barrett of the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Barbara Lagoa of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump named both of them to their current jobs. Trump on Fox also was asked about Judge Allison Rushing, who Trump appointed to the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has prioritized confirming Trump’s judicial appointments, has said he would usher through a vote. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate, but two Republican senators — Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — over the weekend said the chamber should not move forward with a Trump nominee before the election.
McConnell has time, as a new Congress will not be sworn in until Jan. 3. Democrats are hoping to win control of the Senate in the election.
On Sunday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said the country should respect Ginsburg’s wishes and fill her seat after the election. He also reiterated his pledge to nominate an African-American woman to the court, which would be a historic first, if he has the opportunity.
“If I win this election, Trump’s nominee should be withdrawn,” Biden said Sunday. “As the new President, I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor.”
Democrats accused McConnell of hypocrisy for being eager to usher a Trump nominee to a confirmation vote. In 2016, he refused to even consider Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the court left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, saying it would be inappropriate to do so during an election year.
McConnell has pushed back against the 2016 comparison, noting that Trump could win again and saying that, unlike four years ago, the same party controlled both the White House and the Senate.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Saturday told colleagues on a conference call that “nothing is off the table for next year” in responding to the move if Democrats capture the majority, according to a source who listened to the call.
That could include ending the legislative filibuster, a Senate rule that in practice means 60 votes are needed to pass legislation.
Ginsburg died Friday, at 87, due to complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Throughout the weekend, people gathered outside the Supreme Court to mourn Ginsburg — a trailblazing jurist who acquired a unique pop-icon status among liberals who nicknamed her “The Notorious RBG” — with flowers, signs and in candlelit vigils.
Inside, her chair and the section of bench in front of it were draped in black crepe, a gesture that few will see as the court is conducting business remotely during the pandemic.