Biden slams Trump's plan for Supreme Court vacancy
After the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump says he will name a nominee this week as Senators plan pre-election vote.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has urged Senate Republicans not to vote on any candidate nominated to the Supreme Court as the November election approaches, calling his rival Donald Trump’s plan an “exercise in raw political power.”
Biden was speaking on Sunday, the day that a second Senate Republican voiced objections to Trump’s plan to vote quickly on a replacement to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday. Such an appointment by the president, if approved by the Senate, would cement a 6-3 conservative majority that could influence American law and life for decades.
“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.”
“I appeal to those few Senate Republicans, the handful who really will decide what happens,” Biden added. “Please follow your conscience. Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator [Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell have created. Don’t go there.”
Trump on Saturday promised to nominate a woman and said he will make his nomination this week, naming federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa as possible candidates to fill the vacancy created by the death of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday.
“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where supporters chanted “fill that seat”.
“I think it should be a woman because I actually like women much more than men,” he said.
The death of Ginsburg could affect the November election, with Republican brass promising to vote on an appointee before voters go to the polls, despite resisting a similar election-year nomination by Democrats in 2016.
The vacancy has brought new urgency to perennial social issues like gay rights, voting rights, religious rights, abortion rights, and gun rights, which could be reshaped for years to come by a resounding conservative majority.
Ginsburg’s death has also raised the stakes on the upcoming Senate elections, with attention turning to how voters will respond to Republican’s actions in the weeks to come.
Second Republican opposes pre-election vote
With a 53 to 47 majority, at least four Republican senators would need to break from party ranks and vote against a Trump nominee to thwart the current plan. The vice president casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie.
On Sunday, Lisa Murkowski, a senator from Alaska, became the second Republican in the chamber to oppose voting on a nominee before the November election.
Susan Collins, a Senator from Maine, said on Saturday she would not support replacing Ginsburg before the election.
Some observers have raised the prospect of Democrats “packing the court” – or increasing the number of judges on the court – if Republicans push through with a confirmation before the election and Democrats go on to take control of the Senate.
On Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told a conference call of Democrats that “nothing is off the table for next year” if Republicans are successful in their attempt, Reuters news agency reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed source who listened to the call.
Trump has already appointed two justices: Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
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