The Slatest

As Trump Unveils Nominee, Most Americans Say Election Winner Should Pick Next Justice

Amy Coney Barrett smiles.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett looks on while being introduced by President Donald Trump as his nominee to the Supreme Court during an event in the Rose Garden at the White House on Saturday. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On the same day as President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee to the Supreme Court, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll reiterates that most Americans think the November winner should be the one to make the choice. And it isn’t even close. While 57 percent of Americans say the next president should pick the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, only 38 percent say Trump should get to choose and that the Senate should confirm his selection.

As might be expected, the views are split pretty decisively along party lines, with only 7 percent of Democrats saying Trump should nominate the next justice and the current Senate should confirm his choice. Among Republicans, 80 percent think Trump’s nominee should be confirmed while 16 percent say it should be up to the winner of the election. Independents largely agree with Democrats with 61 percent saying the choice should be up to the winner of the November election, while 34 percent say Trump’s choice should be confirmed.

Americans also largely trust Joe Biden more than Trump to make the choice. Fifty percent of Americans trust Biden more to make the pick, while 42 percent trust Trump. The numbers also suggest the Supreme Court vacancy could end up motivating Biden voters to head to the polls as 64 percent say the vacancy makes it “more important” for the former vice president to win the election. Still, the issue is not seen as the most important for voters. Only 11 percent say the next appointment is the single most important issue in their choice for president. In contrast, 25 percent say the economy is their top issue, followed by 17 percent who say it is the coronavirus pandemic, and 15 percent rank health care as the most important issue.