President Donald Trump indicated early Saturday that he will quickly move to nominate a replacement to the Supreme Court bench, hours after the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday.
“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us,” Trump tweeted, adding that the most important of those decisions has long been the selection of Supreme Court justices.
.@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. We have this obligation, without delay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2020
The President urged GOP lawmakers to join him in fulfilling their obligation — “without delay” — even as prominent Democrats have pushed back on calls for a quick vote on the Senate floor to confirm an eventual Trump nominee when early voting in the November presidential election is already underway.
The President’s comments come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday issued statement vowing that Trump’s nominee to the court would “receive a vote” on the Senate floor.
McConnell’s talk of a swift replacement is a staggering turnaround from his stance four years ago, when he refused a hearing on Merrick Garland — Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court — following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Former President Barack Obama was quick to remind McConnell and GOP lawmakers of the apparent reversal, urging the Senate in a statement to apply rules with “consistency” and not according to convenience.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany declined to weigh in during a Fox News interview on Saturday about the President’s timeline for nominating a new Supreme Court justice. She said more details about it could be expected during a campaign rally later in the day in North Carolina.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the president on that,” McEnany told Fox News.
Per the Washington Post, the press secretary later told reporters at the White House that she was not aware of any recent conversations between Trump and McConnell about filling the vacancy.
Asked about guiding criteria for Trump’s potential new nominee, McEnany said that a nominee’s attitudes toward protecting life and the Second Amendment were among his considerations.
“This president has always been squarely focused on putting people on the court who are Constitution-abiding judges, who are textualists, who are originalists, who believe that the words on the pages of the Constitution are a statute, are the plain meaning of what they are,” she said. “Someone who protects the right to life, someone who protects the Second Amendment.”