Even as condolences poured in following the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, questions about her replacement — with just weeks left until Election Day — were soon being openly addressed.
According to multiple sources cited by ABC News, President Donald Trump is planning to announce a nominee to fill the vacancy “in the coming days.”
Democratic Party backlash
The outlet went on to note that the sources referenced a “very short” list of candidates, which includes at least one woman. One name listed among the likeliest contenders has been U.S. Circuit Judge AmyConey Barrett, as reported by NBC News.
With a GOP majority in the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will be a key figure in the push to confirm a nominee prior to Inauguration Day. If the president does submit a nominee in the near term, McConnell has signaled that he would put the confirmation up for a vote.
Critics on the other side of the aisle, however, are up in arms over allegations that he is being hypocritical in supporting a lame-duck confirmation.
Four years ago, McConnell refused to allow the Senate a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. At the time, then-candidate Trump argued that “the next president should make the pick” and not the outgoing Obama.
As for the majority leader, however, he continues to maintain that his critics are mistaken about his alternate positions.
“We kept our promise”
“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,” McConnell said in a statement after Ginsburg’s death. “We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”
Therefore, he contends that he is simply doing what voters, who increased the GOP’s majority in the 2018 midterms, elected him to do.
“Once again, we will keep our promise,” he continued. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
With only a simple majority needed and 53 Republican seats in the Senate, a potential candidate is likely to be confirmed under the chamber’s current configuration.
Given the high stakes of such a lifetime appointment, however, it is clear that Democrats are prepared to oppose the process with any tool at their disposal.