Trump to GOP on filling Supreme Court vacancy: “We have this obligation, without delay!”

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(FILE) – President Donald Trump speaks about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after a campaign rally at Bemidji Regional Airport, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Bemidji, Minn. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CBS) — President Trump has called on Republicans to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “without delay!” Ginsburg died Friday at the age of 87 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Less than 24 hours after Ginsburg’s death, the president tweeted: “@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!

The president’s call comes after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday night that he would move forward on filling Ginsburg’s seat. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said in a statement.

In 2016, McConnell adamantly opposed filling the Supreme Court seat left by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, saying at the time that it was too close to the election to fill an empty seat on the court. Scalia died on February 13, 2016, leaving 269 days until that year’s election. As of Saturday, there are only 44 days left until the November 3 election.

McConnell went on to block the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland. However, McConnell has now said he will hold a vote for Trump’s nominee.

In his statement on Friday, McConnell argued that it was not hypocritical to vote on a vacancy so close to the election after refusing to do so four years earlier, as the Republican Party now controls both the Senate and the White House.

“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise,” McConnell said. “By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.”

Trump is expected to nominate a conservative judge. The shortlist now under consideration in the White House is made up of four women, Barbara Lagoa, Amy Coney Barrett, Kate Comerford Todd, and Joan Larsen, as well as one man, Amul Thapar. Barrett, a favorite of religious conservatives who is known for opposing abortion rights, is considered a likely pick, as she previously interviewed with the president for the seat now filled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

If the Republican-controlled Senate confirms any of the judges currently under consideration by the president, it would expand what is arguably his most enduring legacy: appointing conservative judges to federal courts. The Senate confirmed Trump’s 200th conservative judge to the federal bench in June, officially filling all federal circuit court vacancies.

Senators approved the nomination of Cory Wilson to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Justin Walker to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Wilson, a Mississippi attorney and former state legislator, has called for the “complete and immediate” reversal of Roe v. Wade.

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