President Donald Trump on Saturday told reporters he will likely nominate a woman to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, as Republicans move quickly to vote on a candidate before the presidential election in November.
Trump said he expects to announce the nominee next week, and that he wants a vote on the Senate floor before the November election.
The current frontrunner, who has already been interviewed by Trump, is 48-year-old Amy Coney Barrett, a conservative who clerked for late Justice Antonin Scalia and has said before that “life begins at conception,” according to Politico.
Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, where they only need a simple majority to confirm a nominee, but it’s unclear if they will ultimately get the votes, since some have previously expressed skepticism of taking such action so close to an election.
The first GOP defector is Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who said Saturday “the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the president who is elected on November 3rd.”
Trump said he “disagrees” with Collins, adding that Republicans have an “obligation” to nominate someone because they “won.”
“If somebody were to ask me now, I would say that a woman would be in first place,” Trump said.
All eyes are on Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and several other Republican Senators who previously said they don’t want to nominate a new justice during an election year, but have not yet announced their views since Ginsburg’s death.
Democrats are appealing to the swing votes by using Mitch McConnel’s own argument for stalling Merrick Garland’s nomination during the tail-end of the Obama administration. McConnell said at the time, “this nomination ought to be made by the President we’re in the process of electing this year,” though he now emphasizes the situation is different now because the president and Senate are of the same party, unlike 2016.