The Slatest

Trump Says Republicans Have “Obligation” to Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

Trump pauses, gripping the podium, while speaking
President Donald Trump at Bemidji Regional Airport in Bemidji, Minnesota, on Friday. Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

President Donald Trump called on the Republican-led Senate to quickly vote on his pick to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg six weeks before the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already vowed to hold a vote for whomever Trump ends up nominating to fill the seat. “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,” Trump wrote in a tweet in which he tagged the Republican Party. “We have this obligation, without delay!”

Trump is expected to unveil his nominee for the seat within days. Earlier this month, Trump had already released a short list of candidates as part of his campaign for reelection. But the name that is emerging as a front-runner is Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge. Barrett is seen as having an advantage over others because she has already been closely vetted both during her 2017 confirmation to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and also because she was on the short list to take over Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat in 2018.

Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders, including former President Barack Obama, have said that Republicans need to adhere to the precedent they set in 2016 when they refused to consider the nomination of Merrick Garland after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death early in 2016. “The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said. “This was the position the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That’s the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election’s only 46 days off.”