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Trump’s Supreme Court push roils US election

20 September 2020, 12:07:24

US President Donald Trump vowed Saturday to quickly nominate a successor, likely a woman, to replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, only a day after the death of the liberal stalwart. The president’s desire “to move quickly” on the process despite Democrats’ vehement opposition, is likely to dominate the campaigns —
alongside other hot-button issues like the coronavirus and America’s ongoing racial reckoning — ahead of the November 3 presidential election.

“I think it’s going to move quickly actually,” Trump told reporters outside the White House Saturday, adding that he thought his choice would be made “next week.”

The 87-year-old Ginsburg, immensely popular among Democrats, died Friday after a long battle with cancer, prompting an outpouring of national grief.

She was one of only three women on the nine-person bench, and Trump indicated Saturday he would aim for a female replacement, telling reporters his pick “most likely would be a woman.”

Ginsburg’s death, coming just weeks before the election, offers Republicans a chance to lock in a decades-long conservative majority on the court, where justices are appointed for life.

The stakes are high as the decision could affect such life-and-death issues as abortion, healthcare, gun control and gay rights.

They are pushed even higher in a bitter election year when the justices can play a decisive role in legal wrangling over a contested result — such as when they ruled in George W. Bush’s favor to end the 2000 election debacle.

Trump has already named two justices during his first term as president, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, giving conservatives a 5-4 majority before Ginsburg’s death, though that does not guarantee rulings in Trump’s favor — there have been several recent examples of conservatives siding with their progressive colleagues to tilt the
balance.

Trump, who is lagging in the polls behind Biden, has another powerful incentive to move ahead: providing a jolt of enthusiasm among his anti-abortion and evangelical supporters.

But, with 45 days to go before the election and some early voting already begun in some states, Democrats are pushing back furiously.

Biden said Friday that “the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider.”

The prospect of a fierce partisan nomination battle and rushed Senate confirmation vote has ignited his party, still seething over Republicans preventing Barack Obama from filling a court vacancy through most of the 2016 election year.

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