After Ginsburg’s Death, 59 Percent Believe Biden Should Reveal Supreme Court Candidate: Poll

September 21, 2020 Updated: September 22, 2020

A recent Scott Rasmussen poll found that, in the wake of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg, the majority of likely voters believe Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden should announce his candidate to replace the vacant seat on the nation’s highest court.

In a survey carried out the day after Ginsburg died, 59 percent of likely voters said Biden should reveal who he would nominate if elected to the White House. The poll also found that just 21 percent don’t think he should, while 20 percent are undecided.

Meanwhile, some 62 percent of respondents to a Reuters/Ipsos poll said they think the winner of the November election should get to nominate a justice to fill the vacancy.

It comes as Biden said Sunday that he won’t release a list of potential Supreme Court picks before the Nov. 3 election, saying that doing so, as President Donald Trump did, could improperly influence those candidates’ decisions in their current court roles and subject them to “unrelenting political attacks.” Biden reiterated his pledge to nominate an African American woman to the court if victorious in his bid for the White House.

Trump said he will this week nominate a woman to fill the vacant seat.

“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where supporters chanted “fill that seat.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Sunday brushed off Democratic complaints over nominating a replacement.

“Let’s be very clear—if the shoe were on the other foot and the Democrats had the White House and the Senate, they would right now be trying to confirm another member of the Supreme Court,” Barrasso said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Over the weekend, several Republican senators, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) signaled support for Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in their calls to fill the vacant seat.

“I’m dead set on confirming @realDonaldTrump’s nominee” Graham wrote in a tweet, while Tillis rejected Democrat claims that Republicans are being hypocritical by blocking then-President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016, while supporting Trump and McConnell in seeking to fill the spot.

“Four years ago, a Supreme Court vacancy arose under divided government and a lame-duck president as Americans were choosing his successor. Today, however, President Trump is again facing voters at the ballot box and North Carolinians will ultimately render their judgment on his presidency and how he chooses to fill the vacancy,” Tillis wrote.

The reasoning outlined by Tillis in drawing a distinction between Republican actions in 2016 to block the nomination of Merrick Garland reinforced remarks McConnell made in a letter to members of the GOP caucus, in which the Kentucky senator challenged the notion that Senate Republicans set a rule in 2016 that the Senate would not fill a vacant seat in a presidential election year.

“That is not true,” McConnell said, explaining that, in 2016, Senate Republicans followed a rule that said Supreme Court vacancies that arise in presidential election years should not be filled when the presidency and the Senate majority are held by parties on the opposite side of the aisle.

mitch mcconnell
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks to reporters in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington on June 16, 2020. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Democrats have argued that because McConnell blocked Obama’s nominee in 2016, the GOP should not move to replace Ginsburg before the Nov. 3 election.

Biden, in Sunday’s remarks, called on Senate Republicans to hold off on voting on any candidate nominated by the president until after the election, and called Trump’s plan to nominate a replacement an “exercise of raw political power.”

“We can’t ignore the cherished system of checks and balances. That includes this whole business of releasing a list of potential nominees that I would put forward,” the former vice president said.

The Scott Rasmussen survey also found that 52 percent of likely voters overall believe the Senate should wait to confirm Ginsburg’s replacement until after the presidential election, though broken down according to party affiliation, the numbers differ starkly.

Among likely voters who identified as Republican, 73 percent said they believe a Supreme Court nominee should be confirmed as soon as possible, while 80 percent of Democrats believe confirmation should wait until after the election.

Earlier on Sunday, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she did not support Trump’s plan to move fast on filling the seat, becoming the second of the 53 Republicans in the 100-seat chamber to object publicly following Ginsburg’s death.

On Saturday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the presidential election winner should pick the nominee.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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