President Donald Trump said Saturday that he will nominate a female next week to fill late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacancy.
“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” he said during a rally on Saturday night in North Carolina.
It confirmed what the president told reporters when he left the White House for the rally.
“I could see most likely it would be a woman,” he told reporters earlier the day. “I would say that a woman would be in first place.”
He also said the process will be started “extremely soon” and will move very quickly.
When asked about Barbara Lagoa, the U.S. circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the president said Lagoa is an “extraordinary person” and is highly respected in Miami.
“She’s an extraordinary person. I’ve heard incredible things about her. I don’t know her. She’s Hispanic, and highly respected in Miami, highly respected,” he replied.
Lagoa is reported to be one of the frontrunners for the position along with Amy Coney Barrett, a judge for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Trump made the remarks after Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voiced objection to voting on the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) nominee before the November election.
Collins said earlier the day that the SCOTUS nominee vote should be scheduled after the election to be fair, consistent, and to ensure Americans’ faith in elected officials.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” she said in a statement. “The decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”
Collins is the first Republican senator to publicly object to voting on U.S. Supreme Court nominee to fill Ginsburg’s vacancy before the election. Her stance on the issue is mostly in alignment with the Democrats.
The president said he doesn’t agree with Collins.
“We have an obligation, as the winners, to pick who we want, right now we’re here [White House],” he said.
Republicans and Democrats fell into a fierce battle over Ginsburg’s vacancy following her death.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced right after the death of Ginsburg that Trump’s nominee will get a Senate vote. A day later, President Donald Trump urged Republicans to confirm Ginsberg’s replacement “without delay.”
Some Republicans publicly rallied behind McConnell’s push to fill the Supreme Court vacancy before Election Day.
“This U.S. Senate should vote on President Trump’s next nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court,” Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) wrote in a statement.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned that there will be a constitutional crisis if Republicans fail to do this.
“We cannot have Election Day come and go with a four-four court,” Cruz said during an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity. “A four-four court that is equally divided cannot decide anything. And I think we risk a constitutional crisis if we do not have a nine-justice Supreme Court, particularly when there is such a risk of a contested election.”
Meanwhile, Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), insisted the process should be postponed to some time after the November election and the nomination should be left to the one who wins the presidency.
The Republicans currently hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate.
The views of some other key Republican players in this battle are still unclear.
Several top Republicans and some other potential swing votes in the Senate, including Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), haven’t yet said whether they support replacing Ginsburg before the election.