Donald Trump said Monday that he will wait to announce his nomination to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg until Friday or Saturday – after funeral services have concluded for the late justice.
'I think it'll be on Friday or Saturday,' Trump said of the impending announcement for his third Supreme Court nomination. 'And we want to pay respect. We, it looks like, it looks like we will have probably services on Thursday or Friday, as I understand it.'
'I think in all due respect we should wait until the services are over for Justice Ginsburg,' he told the Fox & Friends panel during a Monday morning call-in interview. 'And so we're looking probably at Friday or maybe Saturday.'
Ginsburg, who was lovingly referred to as RBG, will be honored in a viewing outside the Supreme Court building later this week, according to pandemic-era guidelines. Trump said Monday he has a list of four or five people he is ‘seriously considering’ to replace her.
At the same time signaling ‘respect’ for the late justice, the president also brought into question her ‘dying wish’ that she not be replaced by a Trump nominee.
He cast doubt on Ginsburg's dying wish to have the next president replace her on the Supreme Court, alleging it was actually written by a Democrat.
Trump said it was actually Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff who were behind the justice's last request.
There is not proof that this allegation has any validity and Trump did not offer any explanation.
'I don't know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff, Schumer and Pelosi,' Trump said during his Fox & Friends interview.
'I would be more inclined to the second, it sounds so beautiful. But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or shifty Schiff. So that that came out of the wind. Let's see. I mean, maybe she did and maybe she didn't,' he added.
Ginsburg’s granddaughter Clara Spera said that in her dying days, the liberal justice dictated a dying wish to her.
'My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,' she said.
Donald Trump told Fox & Friends Monday morning he will revealhis pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday or Saturday, claiming he wanted to 'respect' her by waiting until after her funeral services to make the announcement
Trump said he is 'seriously considering' five or four different people for the job, as a person familiar with the process said the White House narrowed it down to four women – Amy Coney Barrett, who is considered the front runner, Barbara Lagoa, another strong contender, Kate Todd and Allison Jones Rushing
Protesters gathered outside of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's Washington D.C. home on Monday morning
The crowd appeared after Graham said he would support Trump's pick for the open Supreme Court seat
Graham is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominees
Democrats have used Ginsburg's words and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's actions in 2016 - when he held back President Barack Obama's nominee until the election was decided - as an argument to let the winner of November's contest nominate Ginsburg's replacement.
The president also claimed to the Fox News morning show panel that he has narrowed his list of potential nominees to five different people.
'I'm looking at five, probably four, but I'm looking at five very seriously,' Trump said.
'I'm going to make a decision on either Friday or Saturday. I will announce it either Friday or Saturday, and then the work begins,' he continued. 'Hopefully, it won't be too much work, because these are very qualified people. No matter how you would look at it, these are the finest people in the nation. Young people. Pretty young for the most part.'
The president has signaled an impending announcement following the death of Ginsburg last week, claiming it's his 'obligation' to nominate a new justice 'without delay.'
With Ginsburg's passing, only two of the remaining eight justices are women, prompting Trump to promise over the weekend he will nominate a female.
There are four women who have made the shortlist, a source with knowledge of the process said, according to Politico – Amy Coney Barrett, who is considered the front runner, Kate Todd, Barbara Lagoa and Allison Jones Rushing.
Barrett is 48, Lagoa is 52, Rushing is 38 and Todd is 45. If any of these women are nominated and confirmed, they would be the youngest currently seated on the current Supreme Court.
'These are the smartest people, the smartest young people, you like to go young, because they're there for a long time,' Trump told Fox & Friends.
He added that his nominee would 'abide by the Constitution,' be a 'good person' and have 'very, very high moral values.'
RBG died at the age of 87 late last week due to complications from her ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer.
Trump said Saturday that his nomination for the open Supreme Court seat 'will be a very talented, very brilliant woman.'
'I like women more than I like men,' he continued during a campaign rally in North Carolina over the weekend.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was lovingly referred to as RBG, died last week at the age of 87 due to complications from an ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. She will be honored in an outdoor viewing near the Supreme Court building later this week
The president's swift and impending nomination will be made in hopes of pressuring the Senate to ratify his decision before voters are given the chance to decide on a second term.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold confirmation hearings and bring a vote to the floor on Trump's nomination.
The Kentucky senator has also been lobbying for Republicans on-the-fence about the nomination to join in with the majority of the GOP – who intend to confirm Trump's decision.
Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee fell in line with the leader Sunday.
McConnell has locked down Alexander's key swing vote for the Supreme Court fight after two other GOP senators said Ginsburg should not be replaced before the election.
Alexander threw his support behind McConnell in a statement, saying 'no one should be surprised' by a new appointment in an election year and that voters 'expect it'.
The news is a blow to the Democrats, as the retiring Senator was viewed as a potential swing vote against McConnell and Trump's plans to rush the court appointment.
The nomination will come just six weeks before the election and has sparked fierce debate, with many Democrats - as well as some Republicans - insisting the seat must not be filled until after the election.
The crux of the debate centers around the move made by Republicans back in 2016 - and led by McConnell - to block then-President Barack Obama from appointing a new justice to the court nine months before the election.
Their argument at the time was that the position should not be filled until a new president was elected by the American people - a standard set by the Republicans that the Democrats now argue the party must continue to honor.
Demonstrators also mobbed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnells Louisville home on Saturday as the Kentucky senator said he would bring a vote to the floor of the Senate on confirming Trump's SCOTUS pick
Four GOP senators need to join the Democrats to stop a Supreme Court nomination going forward.
Protesters mobbed McConnell's Louisville home on Saturday, urging the leader to work against the president's impending nomination and not allow a vote to take place.
And early Monday morning, demonstrators also gathered outside of Republican Senator Lindsey Graham Washington D.C. home.
'We can't sleep so neither should Lindsey,' on banner, held by multiple protesters, read.
'We are wide awake,' another sign said.
Graham is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and will oversee the confirmation hearing for whoever is nominated to the open Supreme Court seat.
Alexander released a statement on his decision, claiming: 'No one should be surprised that a Republican Senate majority would vote on a Republican president's Supreme Court nomination, even during a presidential election year.'
'The Constitution gives senators the power to do it. The voters who elected them expect it.'
Alexander, who is retiring at the end of his current term, went on to say that Democrats would also rush to fill the seat 'if the shoe were on the other foot'.
'Senator McConnell is only doing what Democrat leaders have said they would do if the shoe were on the other foot,' he said.
'I have voted to confirm Justices [John] Roberts, [Samuel] Alito, [Sonia] Sotomayor, [Neil] Gorsuch and [Brett] Kavanaugh based upon their intelligence, character and temperament.
'I will apply the same standard when I consider President Trump's nomination to replace Justice Ginsburg.'
The senator has a history of bipartisanship, having worked closely with Democrat Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the past on making it easier for the Senate to confirm presidential nominees.
He had also been eyed by Democrats as a swing vote during Trump's impeachment trial, one of a handful of GOP senators that hinted they could vote to hear from witnesses with knowledge of Trump's conduct toward Ukraine.
However Alexander disappointed Democrats in this instance too, deciding against the calling of witnesses and calling the trial a 'partisan impeachment.'
Mitch McConnell has locked down the key swing vote of GOP Representative Lamar Alexander for his Supreme Court fight
The Tennessee Senator threw his support behind McConnell in a statement Sunday, saying 'no one should be surprised' by a new appointment in an election year and that voters 'expect it'
Two GOP senators - Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins - have already dissented on the Supreme Court vote, vowing to derail Trump's nomination plans until after the November 3 election.
Murkowski became the second Republican senator Sunday to say the chamber should not take up the president's nominee before the American people vote for their next president, hours after Trump threw shade at her publicly and after her colleague and frequent collaborator Collins made her own opposition to a quick vote known.
'For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election,' the Alaska senator said.
'Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed,' she continued.
'I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia.
'We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply.'
Murkowski in her statement was referencing the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, which never got a hearing despite Barack Obama nominating Garland nine months before the 2016 elections.
Two GOP senators - Lisa Murkowski (left) and Susan Collins (right) - have already dissented, vowing to derail Trump's nomination plans until after the November 3 election
Ted Cruz, Texas. 49
Josh Hawley, Missouri. 40
Tom Cotton, Arkansas. 43
Bridget Bade, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 54
Stuart Kyle Duncan, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 48
James Ho, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 47
Gregory Katsas, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 56
Barbara Lagoa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. 52
Carlos Muñiz, Supreme Court of Florida. 51
Martha Pacold, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. 41
Peter Phipps, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 47
Sarah Pitlyk, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. 43
Allison Jones Rushing, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 38
Lawrence VanDyke, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 47
CURRENT AND FORMER REPUBLICAN OFFICIALS
Daniel Cameron, Kentucky Attorney General. 34
Paul Clement, partner with Kirkland & Ellis, former solicitor general. 54
Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. 46
Noel Francisco, former U.S. solicitor general. 51
Christopher Landau, U.S. ambassador to Mexico. 56
Kate Todd, deputy White House counsel. 45
Trump took a slap at Murkowski hours before she released the statement Sunday morning, as he kept up his pressure campaign on his own party and prepared to nominate a Supreme Court Justice in an upended election.
The president kept his comments brief, penning a simple 'No thanks!' as he retweeted a promotion by the Alaska Chamber of Commerce speech by Murkowski for Tuesday.
Murkowski voted against Trump's last Supreme Court pick – Justice Brett Kavanaugh. More critically for the current scramble underway, were statements she said shortly before Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.
'I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election,' she said, Alaska Public Radio reported.
She referenced Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's decision not to grant a hearing to Garland in 2016 nearly nine months before the election.
'That was too close to an election, and that the people needed to decide,' Murkowski said.
'That the closer you get to an election, that argument becomes even more important.'
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine – with whom Murkowski often votes when diverging from party orthodoxy – came out with her own statement Saturday.
'In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd,' Collins, facing a tough re-election race herself, said on Twitter.
Collins is up for reelection in a close race.
The two dissenters have left Democrats still shy of the count of four needed to derail a nomination, but points to the possibility they could prevent it by winning over an additional pair of Republicans.
With Alexander no longer a possible dissenter, the focus has shifted to Republican Sen. Mitt Romney, who votes with conservatives but also voted for an impeachment article against Trump and has called him out occasionally in public.
Democrats have put several other options forward to stall or counteract Trump rushing through the appointment for Ginsburg's replacement.
Several including Rep. Joe Kennedy III have threatened to pack the Supreme Court if they capture the Senate in November and Republicans have already pushed through a conservative successor to Ginsburg.
President Trump said Saturday his Supreme Court nominee is most likely to be a woman. On Sunday he tweeted about Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski
President Donald Trump tweeted a dig at GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who said before Ginsburg's death that she would not vote for a replacement close to the election
Court packing is the move to appoint extra justices to the Supreme Court.
It is a move several Democrats have proposed if the party takes control of the Senate in order to increase the presence of liberal justices on the bench.
Franklin D. Roosevelt made attempts to pack the court back in 1937 when the Republican president wanted to pass his New Deal laws and needed more conservative justices in the court to vote in favor of them.
Roosevelt's attempts failed and he was criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for the move.
However Democrats argue court packing will be necessary to rebalance the court if President Trump does not wait until after the presidential inauguration to appoint Justice Ginsburg's replacement.
The issue in contention is that Republicans barred President Obama from appointing a justice in the election year in 2016.
Many Democrats say this meant the seat - finally filled by a Trump nominee after he entered the White house - was 'stolen' by Republicans and that if Republicans now do the very same thing they banned Democrats from doing in 2016 by rushing through an appointment, Democrats will then be within their rights to rebalance the court.
Joe Kennedy III, who represents Massachusetts' 4th Congressional District and is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, tweeted Sunday: 'If he holds a vote in 2020, we pack the court in 2021. It's that simple.'
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler wrote on Twitter: 'If Sen. McConnell and @SenateGOP were to force through a nominee during the lame-duck session -- before a new Senate and President can take office - then the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the Supreme Court.'
Court packing is a controversial move, however Democrats argue it will be necessary to rebalance the court if Trump does not wait until after the presidential inauguration to appoint Ginsburg's replacement.
Other options on the table are the pursuit of impeachment charges, something House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not rule out in an interview Saturday.
'We have our options. We have arrows in our quiver that I'm not about to discuss right now but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country,' she told ABC's 'This Week' when asked about the prospect.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
'This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election,' Pelosi continued.
'Our main goal would be to protect the integrity of the election as we protect the people from the coronavirus.'
AOC echoed the possibility of pursuing impeachment charges at a joint press conference