President Trump said Saturday that he expects to announce his nomination for the Supreme Court next week and that he will pick a woman.

“It will be a woman — a very talented, very brilliant woman,” Trump said at an evening campaign rally in North Carolina. “We haven’t chosen yet, but we have numerous women on the list.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday has set off an intense political battle ahead of the election, as leading Republicans seek to vote quickly on a successor and cement a conservative majority on the court. Democrats have called for the Senate to wait until the next president takes office.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) — one of several closely watched Republican senators who could play a crucial role in a vote — said Sunday that she does not support filling Ginsburg’s seat before the November election. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Saturday that whoever is elected in November should nominate Ginsburg’s replacement.

The latest:

September 19, 2020 at 9:58 PM EDT
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More than a thousand gather at Supreme Court as vigils are held nationwide

By Clarence Williams and Hannah Knowles

One night after more than a thousand people gathered at the steps of the Supreme Court, an even larger crowd packed the street Saturday night, as similar vigils took place at courthouses around the country in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Many candles flickered and mourners brought bouquet after bouquet of memorial flowers.

Friday’s tone seemed mostly quiet, reflective and somber. Saturday night featured calls to action at the ballot box and to push senators to not confirm any nominee to fill Ginsburg’s seat before the November election. The crowd responded with raucous cheers that could be heard for blocks around the court.

Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, a Washington-based umbrella group, reminded the crowd of Ginsburg’s lifelong devotion to the court’s mantra of equal justice under the law and for the civil rights long denied women, people of color and the LGBTQ community.

“The next president will seat the next Supreme Court justice, not Trump,” Gupta said. “We will not and cannot let her down.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called for action, not despair.

“There is too much at stake,” she said, echoing other top Democratic lawmakers.

Liberal advocacy groups and politicians are trying to mobilize voters and urging people to call their representatives as the fight over Ginsburg’s vacated seat begins. One of the organizers behind the Supreme Court vigil, the Women’s March, put out a strategy memo Saturday predicting “massive turnout in this election” and “massive resistance to Trump’s SCOTUS nomination.”

“It’s going to make the opposition to Justice Kavanaugh seem minor by comparison,” the Women’s March wrote.

September 19, 2020 at 9:03 PM EDT
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Graham — an institutionalist turned Trump loyalist — will play a central role

By Sean Sullivan and Seung Min Kim

Four-and-a-half years ago, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham sat across a conference table from his colleagues and issued them a dare.

“I want you to use my words against me,” said Graham, a South Carolina Republican with a flair for drama. Pointing with his index finger, Graham continued: “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.”

On Saturday, Graham was singing a different tune, pledging support for Trump in “any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”

The stark turnabout from 2016 marked the latest chapter in Graham’s dramatic reinvention of himself during the Trump presidency, morphing from an old-school Senate institutionalist and bipartisan dealmaker into a stalwart soldier for the president’s agenda.

September 19, 2020 at 8:32 PM EDT
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Trump slams Harris for role in Kavanaugh hearings

By Hannah Knowles

Trump on Saturday revived familiar refrains about the bitter battle over his last Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation, saying the women who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault lied, and singling out Sen. Kamala D. Harris (Calif.) — now running against Trump as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate — for her role in the hearings.

“Nobody was ever ruder,” Trump said at his evening rally in North Carolina, where he affirmed that he would soon seek to appoint a third justice, potentially reshaping the court. He continued: “Nobody ever suffered like Justice Kavanaugh suffered in the hands and the mouths of those horrible people.”

Harris, a longtime prosecutor, made headlines for her grilling of Kavanaugh two years ago, as Democrats pressed the nominee about his views on Roe v. Wade and other key issues for liberals as well as several women’s public allegations of sexual assault. Harris sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which refers Supreme Court nominations to the full Senate.

Trump has attacked Harris before for her handling of the Kavanaugh hearings — including just recently, after Harris joined the Democratic presidential ticket with former vice president Joe Biden.

“And now you have a sort of a madwoman, I call her, because she was so angry and such hatred with Justice Kavanaugh,” Trump told Fox Business in August.

Kavanaugh joined the Supreme Court after an unusually divided confirmation process. The first woman to come forward with an assault allegation, Christine Blasey Ford, said during hearings that she was “one hundred percent” certain Kavanaugh attacked her when she was 15, while the nominee emphatically denied claims against him.

The Senate ultimately confirmed Kavanaugh by a slim margin, 50 to 48.

September 19, 2020 at 7:55 PM EDT
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Mourners honor a ‘superhero’ outside the Supreme Court

By Emily Davies, Clarence Williams and Fenit Nirappil

The grounds of the Supreme Court bloomed into a memorial for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, drawing thousands who came to honor and remember the trailblazing icon.

Mourners began arriving at the high court soon after news of her death came Friday evening, growing to a crowd of more than 1,000 who cried, sang and occasionally applauded. On Saturday, as the sun rose, dozens of people stood in silence as a flag flew half-mast.

And they kept coming by the hundreds. Bouquets, signs and chalk messages honoring Ginsburg multiplied by the minute. Joggers stopped mid-run, bikers paused and rested on their handlebars, and mothers from across the D.C. region brought their daughters to pay tribute to the pioneering liberal lawyer and advocate for equality. Even as lawmakers began to clash over when she would be replaced, the space outside the court was mostly one of quiet reflection.

September 19, 2020 at 7:31 PM EDT
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Trump says he will nominate woman next week

By Colby Itkowitz and Hannah Knowles

President Trump said at a campaign rally Saturday night that he will nominate a woman next week to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court.

“Fill that seat!” cheering people chanted repeatedly at the event in North Carolina, where Trump affirmed his intent to go ahead with a nomination as the election looms.

“It will be a woman, a very talented, very brilliant woman," Trump said. "We haven’t chosen yet, but we have numerous women on the list.”

Earlier in the day, Trump told reporters that his pick would “most likely” be a woman and that he expects the process of confirming his pick “to go very quickly, actually.” He called his list of nominees “the greatest list ever assembled.”

“I think we’ll have a very popular choice whoever that may be,” he said.

Trump said he has about 45 people on his shortlist for the nomination. Asked about Barbara Lagoa and Amy Coney Barrett, two female contenders that Trump has told Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) he likes, the president said they are both “highly respected.”

Asked about a statement by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that a replacement should not be confirmed until after the election, Trump said Saturday afternoon, “I totally disagree with her. We won.”

Asked why he should get to name a Supreme Court justice in an election year when Republicans blocked President Barack Obama from doing so, Trump said, “That’s the consequence of losing an election.”

He may have been referring to the Democrats’ losing the Senate, which is how Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) justifies blocking Obama but not blocking Trump.

At Saturday evening’s rally, Trump praised Ginsburg as a “legal giant,” saying that “her landmark rulings, fierce devotion to justice and her courageous battle against cancer inspire all Americans.”

September 19, 2020 at 6:49 PM EDT
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Liberal political groups seek to mobilize supporters

By Hannah Knowles

Liberal political groups are issuing calls to action after Ginsburg’s death, seeking to mobilize their supporters at a pivotal moment.

The Women’s March, which was launched with mass protests the day after President Trump’s inauguration, warned in a Saturday strategy memo that Roe v. Wade “will be overturned” if Trump appoints Ginsburg’s replacement on the Supreme Court, ushering in a 6-to-3 conservative majority that could make big decisions about abortion rights, health care and other pivotal issues.

“This is everything that the Women’s March has warned about since day 1 of Trump’s presidency,” the memo said. “This is the moment we’ve been preparing for.”

The Women’s March declared that a nomination before the election would energize its base more than it would inspire conservatives, suggesting that if Republicans try to replace Ginsburg quickly, Democrats can flip the Senate “with enough seats to pack the court.” It promised that the “massive resistance” it will help to organize will “make the opposition to Justice [Brett] Kavanaugh seem minor by comparison.”

The Movement for Black Lives, meanwhile, put out a statement Saturday urging people to call their senators to oppose a quick confirmation of a Trump nominee.

“We are asking people to take a stand today,” the organization wrote.

On a call earlier in the day, leaders of several advocacy organizations also framed the fight over Ginsburg’s replacement as a chance to mobilize citizens, voters and donors. They vowed to do everything they could to stop a Trump appointment but said that if that fails, nothing is “off the table” when it comes to potentially restructuring the court.

September 19, 2020 at 5:04 PM EDT
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Nine implications of Ginsburg’s death — for 2020 and beyond

By James Hohmann

The Supreme Court announced at 7:28 p.m. Friday that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died of complications of pancreatic cancer. NPR reported that the 87-year-old liberal lioness dictated this statement to her granddaughter as she lost strength in her final days: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced at 8:51 p.m. that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor.” That was almost the exact amount of time it took McConnell to announce after Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016 that whoever President Barack Obama nominated would not receive a vote.

Just like this week’s crisp autumn air in Washington, the October Surprise of the 2020 election came two weeks before October. Politics is always about power, but the bare-knuckled brawl we are about to witness will be American politics at its rawest. As the nation mourns and partisans gear up for combat, here are nine implications of this seismic news.

September 19, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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Sen. Susan Collins says next president should nominate Ginsburg’s replacement

By Hannah Knowles

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.) said Saturday that whoever is elected this November should nominate Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement on the Supreme Court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Trump have both signaled their support for quickly nominating a successor and cementing a conservative majority on the court. Collins is among several closely-watched senators whose stances could decide whether a Trump nominee moves forward before Inauguration Day.

“In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently — no matter which political party is in power,” Collins said in a statement Saturday. “President Trump has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and I would have no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials.”

But with the election so close, Collins continued, she does not support a swift vote on the nominee.

“In fairness to the American people, who will either be reelecting the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd,” she said in her statement.

Two other Republican senators, Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), have indicated recently — but before Ginsburg’s death — that they do not want to fill a seat close to the election.

A dozen other Republicans in the Senate, including some in close reelection races, have expressed support for a quick vote, either before or after Ginsburg died. Democrats are hoping politically vulnerable lawmakers can be pressured to wait on filling the vacancy, four years after Republicans refused to vote on President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in an election year.

September 19, 2020 at 4:12 PM EDT
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Expanding the court not ‘off the table’ if nominee is quickly confirmed, liberal advocates say

By Hannah Knowles

Leaders of several liberal advocacy groups projected optimism Saturday that Ginsburg’s replacement can be delayed until the next president is sworn in — but said no option for restructuring the Supreme Court is “off the table” if that fails.

With Republicans moving to quickly fill Ginsburg’s seat and solidify a conservative majority, Ginsburg’s replacement could be hugely consequential for issues progressive care about, such as health care access and abortion rights. Fifty-three members of the Senate are Republican, and Democrats are hoping a handful of politically vulnerable GOP members will decline to support a Trump nominee this term.

“We’re gonna win this fight,” said Nan Aron, who heads judicial advocacy group Alliance for Justice, on Saturday’s call with other group leaders. She argued that a confirmation before Inauguration Day is “far from being a done deal.”

“If there is a justice confirmed,” she said, “we will and we assume senators will seriously consider applying all the tools in their toolbox, including expansion of the court if necessary.”

Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP — now president of the nonprofit People for the American Way — said that liberals must ensure that senators such as Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and others feel pressure from their constituents to preserve health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, on which the Supreme Court will soon hear arguments.

Jealous said he believes energy around Supreme Court seats — a key motivator for conservatives — has shifted toward the left in recent years, as issues including voting rights, abortion and health care come to the forefront.

“Movements take work, they take wisdom, and they take wealth,” he said, adding that “all of that has been supercharged in this moment.”

September 19, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT
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Sen. Hawley says he has ‘every expectation’ that Trump’s nominee will publicly oppose Roe v. Wade

By Robert Costa

Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Saturday that he is confident that President Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee will have publicly stated that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established federal protection for abortion, was wrongly decided.

“I have every expectation that they will nominate someone who will meet that criteria,” Hawley (Mo.) said in an interview, following his discussions with White House officials since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday. “And it’s an important beginning because it says so much about judicial philosophy.”

Hawley also said he believes the Senate could move quickly to vote on a nomination.

“I have every expectation [Trump] will nominate someone with all deliberate speed and we should proceed as soon as we can,” Hawley said.

Hawley signaled in July that he would not support any nominee for the Supreme Court unless they had voiced opposition to how that landmark case was decided, creating a new marker for the president to consider as he evaluates his shortlist.

Hawley said that Trump’s aides have “not tried to dissuade me from it or talk me out it or downplay it in any way” during discussions on Friday and Saturday.

“What I want to see from the nominee is some indication — in the record, in the public domain — that they acknowledge and understand that Roe was wrongly decided,” Hawley said. “Private assurances, all that kind of thing, I’m not really interested in because once they’re nominated, they can’t talk about what they’ll do in the future, the ethics rules won’t allow it.”

Hawley’s push comes as conservatives nationally are seeking to overhaul the court’s jurisprudence supporting the right of a woman to choose the procedure. But they have recently been disappointed by the court’s rulings on this front — and particularly by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

September 19, 2020 at 3:24 PM EDT
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Supreme Court justices mourn their friend and colleague

By Derek Hawkins

A towering legal intellect. A model of strength and grace. A good friend.

That’s how Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s colleagues say they will remember the 27-year veteran of the nation’s highest court.

The eight remaining Supreme Court justices issued a joint statement Saturday sharing their memories of Ginsburg; praising her accomplishments as a lawyer, academic and jurist; and offering condolences to her family.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan described Ginsburg as a “hero” and a mentor, saying she left an unrivaled legacy of advancing women’s rights.

“She welcomed me to the Court with a warmth I could not have expected, and I came to feel a special kinship with her,” Sotomayor said. “She was someone whose wisdom, kindness, and unwavering support I could always rely on.”

Kagan, who previously served as the first female solicitor general of the United States, said Ginsburg assisted her in her career long before she was nominated to the court and guided her once they became colleagues.

“I will miss her — her intellect, her generosity, her sly wit, her manifest integrity, and her endless capacity for work — for the rest of my life,” Kagan said.

Justice Clarence Thomas recalled how he met Ginsburg in 1990 and served with her for decades, watching with admiration as she navigated professional and personal challenges, including the death of her husband in 2010.

“She was the essence of grace, civility and dignity,” Thomas said. “Not once did the pace and quality of her work suffer even as she was obviously suffering grievously. Nor did her demeanor toward her colleagues diminish.”

Justice Neil M. Gorsuch remembered how Ginsburg tried to teach him opera — she was a devout fan of the art form — and how she was tickled during a trip to London when an “uninformed guide” kept calling her “Ruthie.”

The justices also lauded her deep passion for the law.

“She will be remembered for her intelligence, learning, and remarkable fortitude,” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said.

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh said he learned from her “principled voice and marveled at her wonderful wit at our weekly conferences and daily lunches.”

“Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

Retired justices also paid tribute.

Anthony M. Kennedy, who left the court in 2018, called Ginsburg a dear friend. Even when they disagreed, he said, it was always civil and respectful. “By her dignity, she taught respect for others and her love for America,” Kennedy said. “By her reverence for the Constitution, she taught us to preserve it to secure our freedom.”

Former justice David H. Souter, who retired in 2009, said Ginsburg “achieved greatness before she became a great justice.”

“I loved her to pieces,” he said.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer joined the court almost exactly one year after Ginsburg did and served alongside her for more than a quarter-century. He said he learned of her death at Rosh Hashanah service. His remembrance read like a poem:

“A great Justice; a woman of valour; a rock of righteousness; and my good, good friend.

The world is a better place for her having lived in it.”

September 19, 2020 at 3:23 PM EDT
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Judiciary Committee Democrats urge Graham to wait for inauguration to consider nominee

By Hannah Knowles

Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Saturday called on Sen. Lindsay O. Graham (R-S.C.) — the committee’s chairman — to wait until the next president’s term before moving to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

Graham suggested Saturday that he will move quickly to fill Ginsburg’s seat, despite his earlier pledges.

In a letter, all 10 committee Democrats urged Graham to “state unequivocally and publicly” that he would not consider a nominee until the inauguration, pointing to Republicans’ refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s nomination to replace Antonin Scalia after he died in February 2016.

Graham said at the time that the “election cycle [was] well underway,” they note, and also said that if a similar situation unfolded under a Republican president, “you could use my words against me, and you would be absolutely right.”

“There cannot be one set of rules for a Republican President and one set for a Democratic President, and considering a nominee before the next inauguration would be wholly inappropriate,” the Democratic senators’ letter states.

Graham went on to say in 2018 that if a seat on the Supreme Court opened up the last year of Trump’s term, “we’ll wait until the next election.”

But more recently, in May, he drew a distinction between 2016 and 2020. Now, Republicans control the Senate as well as the White House.

“Merrick Garland was a different situation,” he said in an interview on “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.” “You had the president of one party nominating, and you had the Senate in the hands of the other party. A situation where you’ve got them both would be different.”

September 19, 2020 at 3:04 PM EDT
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Who Trump might pick for the Supreme Court

By Aaron Blake

Whether the White House and Senate Republicans can force through a Supreme Court nominee in an election year remains an open question.

But one thing is certain: They will do anything they can to install a new justice. The stakes are just too high, with a possible 6-to-3 conservative majority on the nation’s top court.

When the time comes, who might that nominee be? The list starts with the finalists who weren’t picked when President Trump tapped Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh to fill the vacancies left on his watch.

Among the contenders: federal judges Thomas Hardiman, William H. Pryor Jr., Diane S. Sykes, Amul R. Thapar and Don R. Willett. Trump personally interviewed three of them: Hardiman, Pryor and Thapar.

September 19, 2020 at 2:26 PM EDT
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Schumer to Senate Democrats: ‘Everything Americans value is at stake’

By Hannah Knowles and Seung Min Kim

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) told fellow Democratic lawmakers Saturday that “everything Americans value is at stake,” according to a source who was on the conference call, as Republicans move to quickly fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court.

“Health care, protections for preexisting conditions, women’s rights, gay rights, workers’ rights, labor rights, voting rights, civil rights, climate change, and so much else is at risk,” Schumer said during the conference with Senate Democrats, according to the source.

Schumer began the call with a moment of silence for Ginsburg, an icon for the left.

With Republicans eager to cement a conservative majority on the court, carrying huge implications for Democrats’ agenda, the senator told his colleagues that they must prioritize communicating “the stakes of this Supreme Court fight.”

“Let me be clear: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year,” Schumer said, according to the source on the call. “Nothing is off the table.”