US President Donald Trump said he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after funeral services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
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 rejected arguments that the Senate — controlled by his Republican party — should wait to vote on the nominee until after the November 3 presidential election.
“The final vote should be taken before the election. We have plenty of time for that,” Trump said.
Trump also 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,” his nickname for the California congressman.
A front-runner to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Ginsburg is a federal appellate judge who has established herself as a reliable conservative on hot-button legal issues from abortion to gun control.
Amy Coney Barrett, a devout Catholic, is hailed by religious conservatives and others on the right as an ideological heir to conservative icon Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice for whom she clerked.
Liberals say Barrett’s legal views are too heavily influenced by her religious beliefs and fear her ascent to the nation’s highest court could lead to a scaling back of hard-fought abortion rights. She also would replace the justice who is best-known for fighting for women’s rights and equality.
Trump has said he’ll nominate a woman and Barrett is thought to be at the top of his list of favorites. The Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals judge was considered a finalist in 2018 for Trump’s second nomination to the high court, which eventually went to Brett Kavanaugh after Justice Anthony Kennedy retired. Barrett’s selection now could help Trump energize his base weeks before Election Day.
At just 48, Barrett would be the youngest justice and her tenure could last for decades. She’s made her mark in law primarily as an academic at the University of Notre Dame, where she began teaching at age 30. She first donned judges’ robes in 2017 after Trump nominated her to the 7th Circuit.
But she wouldn’t be the only justice with little prior experience as a judge: Elena Kagan had none when president Barack Obama nominated her in 2009.