President Donald Trump said as long as Republicans hold the Senate they can do what they want on voting for a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
He said the vote on his nominee to replace the beloved liberal icon should come before the November 3 election. He also claimed the process will help Republican senators facing tough re-election bids this fall.
‘When you have the Senate, when you have the votes, you can do what you want as long as you have it,’ he told ‘Fox & Friends’ on Monday morning.
President Donald Trump said as long as Republicans hold the Senate they can do what they want on voting for a replacement for the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham is a vulnerable Republican up for re-election this November; he will oversee the confirmation process for President Trump’s Supreme Court pick
Activists protest outside Senator Lindsey Graham’s Washington D.C. house on Monday morning
Graham is under fire for supporting President Trump to appoint a new justice – a contradiction to what he said in 2016 about the Supreme Court nominees
He dismissed those who argued Ginsburg’s replacement should be decided by who wins in November – the argument Republicans used in 2016 when they held up then-President Barack Obama’s nominee to the high court.
‘We have the presidency and we have the Senate, and we have every right to do it, and we have plenty of time,’ he said.
‘I think the final vote should be taken, frankly, before the election. We have plenty of time for that,’ he added.
Trump is pushing for a vote before November 3 amid concern Democrats could peel off enough support to keep the president’s nominee from being confirmed. Already two Republican senators have said the nomination should wait until after the election, which means Democrats need only two more votes.
Additionally, if Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly wins that state’s Senate seat, he could take office as early as November 20, shrinking the GOP’s Senate majority even further.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said if he wins in November he should get the appointment.
‘To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power, and I don’t believe the people of this nation will stand for it,’ Biden said.
‘Even if President Trump wants to put forward a name now, the Senate should not act until after the American people select their next president, their next Congress, their next Senate,’ he said in a speech on Sunday.
Ginsburg, the justice beloved of the left who became famous for her fiery dissents, died on Friday at the age of 87 due to complications from her ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.
Her passing immediately became a political fire storm, with Democrats demanding her seat by filled by the winner of the upcoming general election and Trump vowing to move ahead with a nominee.
He is expected to name a conservative to fill the liberal’s shoes, moving the balance of the court further to the right. He has said he will name a woman to the position.
Trump and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell – who have spoken often in the past few days – are facing criticism from Democrats, who say since McConnell held up Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the high court in 2016 until the election was decided, the same standard should apply this year.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (pictured) on Friday died surrounded by her family in her Washington D.C. home after a long battle with pancreatic cancer
But the president said the difference was Obama and the Democrats didn’t have control of the Senate, while he does.
‘The only problem was, and this is up to the Senate, the only problem was President Obama did not have the Senate,’ Trump said. ‘We had the Senate. And the Senate didn’t want to do that. And Mitch didn’t want to do that. So there’s a difference.’
He also argued the nomination process – which is expected to be controversial, combative and heavily protested – will help vulnerable Republican senators who will face voters on Election Day.
Those senators include Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Martha McSally of Arizona, and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia – all of whom are supporting the president’s plan to move ahead will filling Ginsburg’s seat.
But the most vulnerable Republican senator this year is Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has yet to say if he would support voting on a nominee ahead of the election.
His statement after Ginsburg died merely said that ‘out of decency and respect for this country, we need to make sure that we are giving time for personal reflection on this loss of an American icon.’
President Trump, however, argued the process would help senators like Gardner and McConnell, who is also on the ballot this year but is favored to win re-election.
‘I think it’s going to help Cory, by the way, I really do. He’s a great guy, very, very loyal to the party and to his state. I know that for a fact. I think it’s going to help Mitch, I think it’s going to help everybody if they do it. If they do it, if they do it as they should be doing, it’s going to help everybody. I think it’s going to help our country, if you want to know the truth, if we we do it,’ he said.
In a sign of the confirmation battle to come, a group of protesters gathered outside of Graham’s Washington D.C. home in the early morning hours on Monday.
They waved signs that read ‘We can’t sleep so neither should Lindsey,’ and later marched from his Capitol Hill home to the steps of the Supreme Court.
U.S. Capitol Police were on hand at Graham’s home as protesters rang bells and sounded whistles.
Graham came under fire for saying he would support President Trump moving ahead with a nominee contradicting comments he made in 2016 and 2018 that a nominee should not be considered in an election year.
After the failed Garland nomination, Graham said: ‘If there´s a Republican president (elected) 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.”‘ And he said people were free to ‘use my words against me.’
Activists marched from Senator Lindsey Graham’s home on Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court
Trump has said vulnerable Republican senators will benefit from voting for his Supreme Court nominee – Senators Martha McSally (top left), Kelly Loeffler (top right), and Thom Tillis (bottom left) have all said they will support his pick while Senator Cory Gardner (bottom right) has remained mum on the issue
Tillis is also on the Judiciary Committee, meaning he’ll have a high-profile role in the confirmation process.
Neither Gardner, McSally nor Loeffler sit on the Judiciary panel.
McSally and Loeffler were appointed to their seats and are in their first re-election battle. McSally previously ran in 2018 but lost and is now in a tough contest against Democrat Mark Kelly. Loeffler’s biggest competition is in the Republican primary, where she faces GOP Rep. Doug Collins.
And Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who is probably the most endangered senator after Gardner, went against the president this weekend, saying a vote on a Supreme Court nominee should take place after the election.
‘In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing 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,’ Collins said on Twitter.
Then Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska became the second Republican senator Sunday to say a nomination vote should wait. She is not up for re-election until 2022.
‘For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election,’ she said.
‘Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,’ she continued.
‘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 in reference to Garland’s failed nomination in the Obama years.
‘We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply,’ she added.
Trump slammed both women for their announcements.
‘I think Susan Collins is very badly hurt by her statement yesterday, and I think Murkowski is very badly hurt, and she doesn’t run for two years,’ he told ‘Fox & Friends’ on Monday.
Two GOP senators – Lisa Murkowski (left) and Susan Collins (right) – have already dissented, vowing to derail Trump’s nomination plans until after the November 3 election
Murkowski voted against Trump’s last Supreme Court pick – Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The two Republican dissenters have left Democrats still shy of the count of four needed to derail a nomination, but points to the possibility they could prevent it by winning over an additional pair of Republicans.
The focus has shifted to Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who votes with conservatives but also voted for an impeachment article against Trump and has called him out occasionally in public.
Also being watched is Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who sits on the Judiciary panel.
He hasn’t made a statement since Ginsburg died but told reporters this summer: ‘If I were chairman of the committee and this vacancy occurred, I would not have a hearing on it because that’s what I promised the people in 2016.’
President Trump said since Republicans won the last presidential election, he gets to nominate Ginsburg’s replacement.
And, he said, he needed to nominate a new judge because there could be legal proceedings following the election.
With many states and voters using mail-in ballots, both parties are preparing to file legal cases on any voting irregularities.
‘Look, the bottom line is we won the election. We have an obligation to do what’s right and act as quickly as possible. We should act quickly because we’re going to have probably election things involved here, you know,’ he told ‘Fox & Friends.’
Trump argued it was important to have a full court of nine justices in case of legal issues so a 4-4 tie would be avoided. However, if the Supreme Court had only eight justices, a tie decision on the high court would mean the lower court decision would stand.
‘Well, we don’t want of to have a tie, no, we don’t, and we want to have nine justices,’ he said.
‘We won the election, and elections have consequences,’ he said.
The president has already appointed two members of the Supreme Court, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, in moves that pushes the court increasingly to the right and maintained its 5-4 conservative majority.
Trump said he would nominate Ginsburg’s replacement on Friday or Saturday – after funeral services have concluded for the late justice.
‘I think it’ll be on Friday or Saturday,’ he said. ‘And we want to pay respect. We, it looks like, it looks like we will have probably services on Thursday or Friday, as I understand it.’
President Donald Trump told ‘Fox & Friends’ he would name Justice Ginsburg’s replacement on Friday or Saturday
Trump, who now has a chance to nominate a third justice to a lifetime appointment on the court, named Amy Coney Barrett, 48, of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa, 52, of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible nominees.
But he told ‘Fox & Friends’ on Monday morning he was seriously looking at four or five possible nominees.
‘I’m looking at five, probably four, but I’m looking at five very seriously,’ Trump said.