Trump Considering 5 for Supreme Court Vacancy

Andrew Cummings
September 22, 2020

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Mr. Trump said he was zeroing in on one or two candidates among five who are under consideration.

Two Trump advisers said the president told others on Monday that he was leaning toward Barrett - a Catholic conservative who fended off attacks on her religion during her appeals court confirmation hearing - because it would help with his base, particularly evangelical voters.

Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, but two Republicans, Susan Collins of ME and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said over the weekend they would oppose voting on Trump's eventual nominee before the election. Why not just come to the floor and say - I'm going to do whatever's best for my political party - consistency be damned, reason be damned, democracy be damned. "We have plenty of time to do it".

Trump confirmed that two women - Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Judge Barbara Lagoa - feature prominently on his short list. Trump met with Barrett at the White House on Monday, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Ginsburg, 87, died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

The decision will come "probably Saturday", Trump said, although he said it could come on Friday.

FILE - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gestures to students before she speaks at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, Oct. 3, 2019.

The new choice, which conservative political figures are applauding, and liberals fearing, could affect decisions on legalized abortion in the US, immigration, health care, voting rights, gun ownership restrictions, religious liberty and an array of other issues for more than a generation.

With Republicans holding a 53-47 majority in the Senate, it would require at least four of them to break ranks to stop the nomination from going through.

"I'd much rather have a vote before the election, because there's a lot of work to be done and I'd much rather have it", Mr. Trump said.

"So, make no mistake: if the shoe were on the other foot, Senate Democrats wouldn't hesitate to use their Constitutional authority and anything else at their disposal to fill this seat", he added.

"[Americans] want to see judges on the Supreme Court who understand the difference between making the law and applying the law", he said.

"I think the next president should make the pick, and I think they shouldn't go forward, and I believe I'm pretty much in line with what the Republicans are saying", he told CNN in March of 2016.

Following news of Ginsburg's death, Graham on Saturday said that despite his past comments, he "will support President Donald Trump in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg".

The support now from Lee - who is on the Judiciary Committee that will hold confirmation hearings - is no surprise. Many liberals say that approach doesnt allow the Constitution to change with the times. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Rob Portman, R-Ind., made it clear they are behind McConnell and Trump.

A new Congress will not be sworn in until January 3.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer objected to what he called McConnell's utterly craven pursuit of Supreme Court confirmation under current circumstances, warning it would shatter Senate norms.

Mr. Trump has already named two conservative justices to the high court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

That is a reversal from the position he took four years ago, when a Supreme Court seat became vacant in the final year of former President Barack Obama's second term.

"It was just too convenient", Mr. Trump said. "I don't know her but I hear she's outstanding".

Barrett has long expressed sympathy with a mode of interpreting the Constitution, called originalism, in which justices try to decipher original meanings of texts in deciding cases.

Barrett has other powerful backers within the White House, with counsel Pat Cipollone among her boosters and Vice President Pence - who, like Barrett, hails from IN - advocating for her internally.

Barrett could face opposition from Collins and Murkowski over concerns that she would roll back abortion rights, said a source familiar with the confirmation process who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa, now a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, poses in a photograph from 2019 obtained September 19, 2020.

Other reports by iNewsToday