U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday he expected a nominee to replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to be announced “next week,” and that it will “most likely” be a woman.
The president made the remarks to reporters as he walked out from the White House South Portico to depart for a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
“I could see most likely it would be a woman … If somebody were to ask me now, I would say that a woman would be in first place,” Trump said of his nominee. “I think the choice will be next week,” he added.
Ginsburg, the second female Supreme Court justice in U.S. history and a renowned jurist who championed for gender equality, died Friday evening of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer.
Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, maintained that a nominee should be tapped by the new president chosen by voters in the Nov. 3 election. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Trump’s nominee will get a vote in the Senate.
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine tweeted Saturday that given the proximity to the election, the Senate should not vote on the nominee prior to the election.
“I totally disagree with her,” Trump said, referring to Collins’s statement. “That’s not the next president – hopefully I’ll be the next president … We have an obligation to the voters … and it’s a very simple thing.”
Trump also called his shortlist of possible nominees “the greatest list ever assembled.”
Amy Coney Barrett, a federal appellate court judge, reportedly has been a front-runner to fill the vacancy. “She’s very highly respected, I can say that,” Trump said in response to a question related to Barrett.
The death of Ginsburg, the leader of the liberal wing on the Supreme Court, reduced the number of liberal justices to three.
If a Trump nominee, his third during the presidency, is seated, it will swing the nine-member bench further to the conservative side, resulting in a 6-3 GOP majority.