President Trump said Saturday that he expects to announce his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week, putting him on track to announce his decision before the first presidential debate with Joe Biden on Sept. 29.

He said he intends to pick a woman for the seat.

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

A growing number of Republicans say they will support the push by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to vote quickly on Trump’s nominee rather than waiting until the next president takes office.

But 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 presidential election. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Saturday that whoever is elected in November should nominate Ginsburg’s replacement.

The latest:

September 20, 2020 at 8:20 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Ocasio-Cortez, Schumer underscore resolve to stop Trump’s court pick

By Hannah Knowles

Speaking on Sunday night at a joint news conference, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged Republicans to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish — that whoever is elected president in November choose her replacement — and said they will give their all to stop a quick confirmation.

“We must … commit to using every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who joined Schumer at the high school Ginsburg attended in Brooklyn. She said that includes potentially impeaching Attorney General William P. Barr to make the Senate hold a trial.

The purpose of the joint appearance, Schumer said, was to honor Ginsburg, showcase Democrats’ unity in ensuring her greatest last wish and to convey the high stakes of this unfolding battle over the Supreme Court’s future.

“We do not want to turn the clock back, and we only need two more senators to say that they will abide by RBG’s wish,” Schumer said. He specifically criticized Amy Coney Barrett — the woman at the top of Trump’s list for Ginsburg’s replacement — as someone who “stands for all the things Ruth Bader Ginsburg was against.”

Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have both said they do not support a vote before the election.

Schumer expressed hope that Democrats will take back control of the Senate and said that, if that happens, “everything is on the table” when it comes to structural changes such as expanding the court or abolishing the filibuster.

The Senate minority leader had strong words Sunday for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has called for a swift vote on Trump’s nominee.

“If you want to get back at Mitch McConnell’s blatant, nasty hypocrisy, call your senator and tell them not to listen … not to be afraid of Mitch McConnell,” Schumer said.

September 20, 2020 at 6:25 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Who is Amy Coney Barrett, the judge at the top of Trump’s list?

By Colby Itkowitz

At the top of President Trump’s list to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court is U.S. Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a jurist in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia who fulfills nearly all criteria on conservatives’ wish list.

Barrett, 48, could hold the lifetime seat for several decades. Trump’s first two nominees to the nation’s highest court, Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, are in their 50s. Trump’s justices will potentially represent one-third of the Supreme Court for generations.

Barrett, a devout Catholic who is fervently opposed to abortion, appeals to Trump’s conservative base. But Republicans also hope that for moderates such as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), her gender makes her a more palatable replacement for Ginsburg, a feminist icon who spent her life fighting for gender equality.

September 20, 2020 at 5:20 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Ginsburg’s chair draped in black wool crepe in memoriam

By Felicia Sonmez and Robert Barnes

Ginsburg’s chair and the bench directly in front of it at the Supreme Court have been draped in black wool crepe in memory of the late justice, the court announced Sunday. A black wool drape also has been hung over the courtroom doors, the court said.

The chair- and bench-draping tradition dates to at least 1873 and is believed to have been followed ever since after the deaths of sitting Supreme Court justices. The door is draped on the death of each justice, sitting or retired.

In addition, the flags in the plaza outside the Supreme Court will be flown at half-staff for 30 days, according to the court.

No details were immediately available on memorial services for Ginsburg, who died Friday night at age 87.

September 20, 2020 at 4:25 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Sen. Lamar Alexander defends move to vote on nominee in election year

By Hannah Knowles

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on Sunday defended Republicans’ desire to vote quickly on a replacement for Ginsburg after blocking President Barack Obama’s election-year nominee in 2016.

“No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican President’s Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year,” Alexander wrote in a statement. “The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it.”

When Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court in March 2016, Senate Republicans refused to vote on him, saying voters should decide the next president first. Now, with the parties’ positions flipped, and the election even closer, Democrats are accusing them of hypocrisy.

Two Republican senators have said they believe a vote should wait for the election.

Alexander, however, sought to draw a distinction between 2016 and 2020, noting that the Senate has previously refused to confirm several court nominees when different parties control the Senate and the White House.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has promised a swift vote, “is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot,” Alexander said.

September 20, 2020 at 3:24 PM EDT
Link copied
link

‘Please, follow your conscience’: Biden urges Senate Republicans not to vote on court nominee until after election

By Felicia Sonmez

In remarks at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on Sunday, Biden made an appeal to Senate Republicans, urging them not to vote before the November election to confirm any nominee put forward by Trump.

Biden warned that doing so would take the United States further down the “dangerous path” of anger and partisanship.

“We need to deescalate, not escalate. That’s why I appeal to those few Senate Republicans — the handful who really will decide what happens — please, follow your conscience,” he said. “Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created. Don’t go there. Uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience. Let the people speak. Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country.”

Even if Trump were to put forward a name for a nominee in the coming days, Biden said, “the Senate should not act until after the American people select their next president.”

September 20, 2020 at 3:23 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Biden won’t release shortlist of possible Supreme Court nominees

By Amy B Wang

Biden said Sunday that he would not release a list of his own possible nominees to the Supreme Court before the election, like Trump did earlier this month, in part to preserve tradition and to protect the eventual nominee from protracted attacks.

Standing in the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Biden memorialized Ginsburg as “a righteous soul” and implored his Republican colleagues not to vote to confirm her replacement before the next president is elected. If he were to win, Biden added, Trump should withdraw his nominee.

But Biden noted that he would not publicize a shortlist of potential nominees of his own. First, he said he did not want the prospect of being named to the Supreme Court to influence the decisions of any judges currently sitting on lower courts. Second, he anticipated that anyone he named would face a flood of partisan attacks before a nomination hearing that would take place in 2021 at the earliest.

“She would endure those attacks for months on end without being able to defend herself,” said Biden, who vowed earlier this year that, if elected, he would nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.

Third, Biden continued, he would follow tradition and make his choice only after consulting with senators on both sides of the aisle to seek their advice and ask for their consent — “not based on a partisan election campaign.” He argued that releasing a shortlist would serve only to further the politicization of the Supreme Court, which he said has worsened under Trump.

“It will be the product of a process that restores our finest traditions, not the extension of ones that have torn our country apart these past years,” Biden said. “The infection this president has unleashed on this democracy can be fatal. Enough. Enough. Enough. We must come together as a nation.”

September 20, 2020 at 1:48 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Ginsburg’s death could jeopardize the Affordable Care Act

By Amy Goldstein

The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg injects fresh uncertainty into the future of the Affordable Care Act, as the Supreme Court prepares to consider anew the constitutionality of the law that has reshaped the United States’ health-care system in the past decade.

As the senior member of the court’s liberal bloc, Ginsburg was a reliable vote to uphold the ACA in the past and had been expected to do so when the high court reviews the law a third time in its coming term. The sudden shift in the court’s composition provides the latest lawsuit seeking to get rid of the health-care law a greater opportunity, though not a certain victory, while mobilizing Democratic and swing voters focused on the issue in the upcoming elections, according to legal scholars and political analysts.

“Ginsburg’s death is the nightmare scenario for the Affordable Care Act,” said Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor, who supports the ACA. “If the suit had a trivial chance of success yesterday, it has a new lease on life.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Nov. 10, a week after Election Day, in an ACA case with sharp partisan contours. It is based on a lawsuit that was initiated by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general and is supported by Trump’s Justice Department. Another coalition of mostly Democratic attorneys general is trying to uphold the law.

September 20, 2020 at 1:42 PM EDT
Link copied
link

RNC emphasizes Trump’s ‘obligation’ to fill Ginsburg seat in talking points to allies

By Felicia Sonmez and Sean Sullivan

The Republican National Committee on Sunday emphasized President Trump’s “obligation” to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court in talking points distributed to surrogates and allies ahead of the morning talk shows.

The talking points state, among other things, that Trump “has an obligation to fill the seat and he intends to announce his nominee next week,” according to a copy obtained by The Washington Post.

The RNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday afternoon.

The talking points describe Ginsburg as “a titan of the law” who “paved the way for many and has a lasting place in American history.”

They also give surrogates an argument to use in defending Trump’s decision to nominate a successor to Ginsburg ahead of the November election.

“In both 2016 and 2018, the American people elected a President and Senate Republicans who are committed to selecting judicial nominees who believe in applying the Constitution as written,” the talking points state. “There have been 29 times a vacancy opened during an election year or prior to an inauguration. In each case, the sitting President has made an appointment.”

One of those appointments, of course, was Merrick Garland — Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, who was not given a hearing by Senate Republicans. Garland is not mentioned in the RNC talking points.

Several GOP surrogates on Sunday morning made points similar to those distributed by the RNC. “Previous Supreme Court Justices have been confirmed in less than 45 days. Justice Ginsburg was confirmed in just 42 days after her nomination,” reads one of the talking points. Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Pence, made a similar argument during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The talking points also criticize Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for not releasing a Supreme Court shortlist of his own and include quotations from top Senate Democrats who previously argued that the court needs nine justices to function properly.

September 20, 2020 at 1:05 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Klobuchar: Republicans set a ‘new precedent’ when they blocked Merrick Garland in 2016

By Derek Hawkins

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) joined other Democrats on Sunday in calling on Republicans to wait until the next president takes office to act on a Supreme Court nominee, saying they set a “new precedent” in 2016 when they refused to hold hearings on Merrick Garland’s nomination.

“The people pick the president, and the president picks the justice. That is how this works,” Klobuchar said on NBC News’s “Meet the Press.” “So I think my Republican colleagues are the ones — they have to decide based on what they said before. They set this new precedent in 2016, and they’ve got to follow their own words.”

Klobuchar, a member of the committee that handles Supreme Court nominees, noted that Americans were already taking part in early voting in the presidential election.

“People are voting in record numbers,” she said. “They were doing this before she died. We know this. We know how many people have been asking for mail-in ballots. We know the numbers.”

Host Chuck Todd asked Klobuchar what Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) meant when he said in a recent conference call that “nothing is off the table” if McConnell advances Trump’s nominee. Klobuchar skirted the question.

“I think he is talking about the fact that there’s reforms that we’ve all looked at that you could consider,” she said. “But, again, I’m not going to concede this. This is the position of a woman who never gave up, right? When people told her she couldn’t do things, she kept going. Well, I’m not going to give up.”

September 20, 2020 at 12:15 PM EDT
Link copied
link

Sen. Murkowski says she opposes taking up Trump’s nominee

By Derek Hawkins

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Sunday that she opposed voting on a nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election.

“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,” Murkowski said in a statement.

“I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia,” she said. “We are now even closer to the 2020 election — less than two months out — and I believe the same standard must apply.”

The only other Republican to take such a position so far is Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said over the weekend that whoever is elected in November should nominate Ginsburg’s replacement.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has vowed to hold a vote on President Trump’s nominee.

September 20, 2020 at 11:53 AM EDT
Link copied
link

Blunt says Republicans have a ‘constitutional obligation’ to move forward on Supreme Court

By Paige Winfield Cunningham

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said Republicans, who hold the Senate majority, have a “constitutional obligation” to move forward on a new Supreme Court justice because there is a Republican in the White House.

It is an argument several Republicans are making when asked whether moving toward approving a Supreme Court justice just 44 days before a presidential election makes them hypocritical, given they refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, in 2016 several months before the election then.

Blunt argued the situation is different because the Senate and the White House are ideologically aligned whereas in 2016 they weren’t. “In the tradition of the country, when the Senate and the president were in political agreement, the judges went on the court. When they weren’t in agreement, they didn’t,” Blunt said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

However in the past, the Senate has confirmed the nominee of a president of the opposite party in an election year. In 1988, a Democratic Senate confirmed Ronald Reagan-nominee Anthony Kennedy to the Supreme Court.

September 20, 2020 at 11:41 AM EDT
Link copied
link

ActBlue raises $100 million in 38 hours after Supreme Court announced Ginsburg’s death

By Felicia Sonmez

The Democratic fundraising platform ActBlue announced Sunday it has raised $100 million from small-dollar donors since news broke Friday night of Ginsburg’s death, in a sign Democrats are rapidly mobilizing ahead of a potential Supreme Court nomination battle.

“Small-dollar donors have now given $100 million on ActBlue since 8 p.m. ET Friday, investing in candidates up and down the ballot and orgs on the front lines of the impending judicial confirmation fight,” ActBlue said in a tweet Sunday morning. “The grassroots is ready to fight to honor Justice Ginsburg’s legacy.”

By contrast, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and two affiliated fundraising committees raised $210 million in all of August. ActBlue has raised nearly half that amount in the 38 hours since the Supreme Court announced Ginsburg had died.

September 20, 2020 at 11:19 AM EDT
Link copied
link

Sen. Coons pushes back on GOP nomination plan: In ‘half our states, Americans are already voting’

By Felicia Sonmez

Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Joe Biden’s inner circle, pushed back Sunday on Republican plans to move ahead with a Supreme Court confirmation vote, noting that Americans in more than two dozen states have already begun voting for president.

“In 25 states across our country — half of our states — Americans are already voting for the next president,” Coons said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re not 10 months or nine months away from an election. We’re just 44 days from an election.”

Coons added that “the Republican majority set this new precedent” in 2016, referring to Senate Republicans’ refusal to grant Merrick Garland a confirmation hearing with the presidential election nine months away. “So, if they were going to set a new precedent that in an election year — there shouldn’t be a hearing, meetings, votes — they should live by it,” Coons said.

If Republicans press ahead with a confirmation vote on a potential Trump nominee, the senator warned, they “will further divide our country, will further challenge the legitimacy of the court, and, I think, would dishonor Justice Ginsburg’s legacy.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), meanwhile, maintained that “there will be a vote” on a nominee.

“There have been some cases, like Justice Ginsburg herself, in which the nomination and confirmation process took less than 44 days,” Cotton said on “Fox News Sunday.” “There have been other cases in which it took longer. So, it’s too soon to say right now. But we will move forward without delay.”

September 20, 2020 at 10:43 AM EDT
Link copied
link

Trump says he’ll choose a woman for court. But earlier, he said men would be ‘insulted’ by Biden limiting VP search to women

By Felicia Sonmez

Trump announced Saturday night that his nominee to succeed Ginsburg on the Supreme Court will be “a very talented, very brilliant woman.”

But last month, Trump criticized Biden for saying that he would choose a woman as his running mate, telling Fox News Radio, “Some people would say that men are insulted by that.”

Asked by host Clay Travis in last month’s interview to weigh in on Biden’s vice-presidential selection process, Trump responded that he personally “would be inclined to go a different route” because Biden “roped himself into, you know, a certain group of people.”

“He said he had to pick a woman,” Travis replied.

“He said that,” Trump said. “And, you know, some people would say that men are insulted by that. And some people would say it’s fine. I don’t know.”