President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he prefers a Supreme Court with nine justices ahead of the November election and added that Republicans have plenty of time to confirm a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” he said of the election results. “And I think it’s very important that we have nine justices.” Trump added that the process should “go very quickly” in the Senate, as Republicans “are very united.”
“One justice was picked in 19 days—19 days,” Trump said. “We could do four at that rate or five. And we have a lot of time.”
Trump stressed that it’s preferable to confirm the nomination before the election because Democrats are “pulling” a “scam” that will be challenged in the Supreme Court, without elaborating. “Just in case it would be more political than it should be, I think it’s very important to have a nine-justice” court, he said. Over the past several months, Trump has warned that mail-in voting could like to election rigging and delays.
Following Ginsburg’s death last week, there was uncertainty Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be able to clinch enough votes to confirm a new Supreme Court justice. But as of Tuesday, several key senators, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), announced they would vote on Trump’s nominee.
But this week and over the weekend, Democrats have cried foul over the nomination move, accusing GOP members of Congress of engaging in hypocrisy after the Republican-held Senate blocked President Barack Obama’s nomination to the Supreme Court after Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016.
Trump said he will make the announcement on his Supreme Court choice on Saturday at 5 p.m. He said he’s narrowed it down to five choices.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) assailed Republicans and McConnell on the floor of the Senate.
“By all rights, by every modicum of decency and honor, Leader McConnell and the Republican Senate majority have no right to fill it, no right,” Schumer said.
However, McConnell said that his current stance is not comparable to his position from 2016 because the Senate was held by Republicans, and the president at the time was a Democrat.
On Wednesday, hundreds of people lined up outside the court for a chance to pay their respects to Ginsburg.
“Her voice in court and in our conference room was soft. But when she spoke, people listened,” Chief Justice John Roberts said.
Ginsburg will on Friday become the first woman to lie in state in the U.S. Capitol when her casket is placed in National Statuary Hall.
Reuters contributed to this report.