When President Trump learned Friday night that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, he told reporters she was an "amazing woman." Later, in an official statement, he called her a "titan of the law." And while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wrote in a statement that he would bring a vote for a new justice to the floor, Trump did not weigh in.
But in a tweet Saturday morning, Trump appeared to suggest that he wanted to put a new justice on the court before Election Day.
"@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices," he tweeted. "We have this obligation, without delay!"
.@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2020
Moving forward with a nomination process weeks before a hotly contested election will put pressure on moderate Republicans senators like Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Both recently expressed their preference to not confirm a new justice before the election.
Collins is facing the toughest reelection race of her Senate career. On Friday, Murkowski told Alaska Public Media shortly before the announcement of Ginsburg's death that she would not vote to confirm a nominee before the election.
Meanwhile, Democrats say the seat should be held open until after the election, especially given Republican refusals to consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the court roughly eight months before the 2016 election.
Republican Sen. Thom Tillis, who is facing a tight race in North Carolina, wrote that he will support Trump's selection, saying that Garland's nomination was put forward amid divided government and a lame-duck presidency. In a nod to the court's renewed importance as an election issue, Tillis mentioned his Democratic opponent by name and framed his Senate election and the nomination fight as intertwined.
"There is a clear choice on the future of the Supreme Court between the well-qualified and conservative jurist President Trump will nominate and I will support, and the liberal activist Joe Biden will nominate and Cal Cunningham will support, who will legislate radical, left-wing policies from the bench."