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Trump Says GOP Should Select A New Supreme Court Justice 'Without Delay'

President Trump speaks about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after a campaign rally on Friday.
Evan Vucci
President Trump speaks about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after a campaign rally on Friday.

When President Trump learned Friday night that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, he told reporters she was an "amazing woman." Later, in an official statement, he called her a "titan of the law." And while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wrote in a statement that he would bring a vote for a new justice to the floor, Trump did not weigh in.

But in a tweet Saturday morning, Trump appeared to suggest that he wanted to put a new justice on the court before Election Day.

"@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices," he tweeted. "We have this obligation, without delay!"

Moving forward with a nomination process weeks before a hotly contested election will put pressure on moderate Republicans senators like Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Both recently expressed their preference to not confirm a new justice before the election.

Collins is facing the toughest reelection race of her Senate career. On Friday, Murkowski told Alaska Public Media shortly before the announcement of Ginsburg's death that she would not vote to confirm a nominee before the election.

Meanwhile, Democrats say the seat should be held open until after the election, especially given Republican refusals to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the court roughly eight months before the 2016 election.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, who is facing a tight race in North Carolina, wrote that he will support Trump's selection, saying that Garland's nomination was put forward amid divided government and a lame-duck presidency. In a nod to the court's renewed importance as an election issue, Tillis mentioned his Democratic opponent by name and framed his Senate election and the nomination fight as intertwined.

"There is a clear choice on the future of the Supreme Court between the well-qualified and conservative jurist President Trump will nominate and I will support, and the liberal activist Joe Biden will nominate and Cal Cunningham will support, who will legislate radical, left-wing policies from the bench."

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Sam Gringlas is a producer for NPR's All Things Considered and is helping cover the 2020 election for the Washington Desk. He's produced and reported with NPR from all over the country, as well as China and the U.S.-Mexico border. He started as an intern at All Things Considered after graduating with a public policy degree from the University of Michigan, where he was news editor at The Michigan Daily. He's a native Michigander.
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