16:41 GMT19 October 2020
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    US Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, passed away on Friday. Before her death, the Bill Clinton nominated justice reportedly told her granddaughter that her “most fervent wish” was that she not be replaced “until a new president is installed.”

    Republican lawmakers have urged President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ginsburg before the November 3 election.

    Offering her prayers to Ginsburg’s family “at this difficult time,” Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler tweeted that she would “support President Donald Trump in nominating a strict constructionist before the election who will protect innocent life and safeguard conservative values.”

    In a second tweet, Loeffler reiterated that the US Constitution “allows this nomination process to keep moving forward,” saying the president’s nominee, who should be “a defender of life, the Second Amendment and the Constitution – should receive a vote on the Senate floor without delay.”

    Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a member of the Judiciary Committee, similarly expressed his support for a new SCOTUS justice to be fast-tracked before the election, saying the successor to Ginsburg should be nominated “next week.”

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also expressed readiness to fill Ginsburg’s seat, promising that a vote would take place, notwithstanding expected Democratic opposition.

    NBC News obtained a letter reportedly sent by McConnell to other Republicans, telling them that they would all “come under tremendous pressure from the press to announce how we will handle the coming nomination,”  and urging anyone who is “unsure how to answer” or opposed to a nomination before the election to keep quiet.

    Four Republican senators, including Susan Collins of Maine, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley had previously pledged not to move forward with a vote on a SCOTUS nominee before the 2020 vote. Without their support, it’s not clear whether the Senate, where Republicans control 53 seats, would be able to confirm a new justice.

    The Supreme Court’s eight remaining justices include five nominated by a Republican president, and three nominated by a Democratic president.

    Democrats Demand Freeze in Nomination Process Until November

    The Democrats have demanded that the SCOTUS pick be put off until after November 3, with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden telling reporters that “there is no doubt…that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider.”

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer echoed Biden, quoting word for word a statement made by McConnell in February 2016 that “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

    McConnell made those comments after the death of conservative justice Antonin Scalia. President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace Scalia, but was shot down by Republicans in control of the Senate, who said it was inappropriate to pick a new justice in an election year. Garland’s nomination expired in January 2017, and Donald Trump picked conservative Neil Gorsuch for the seat instead, with the Senate confirming his nomination.

    Trump Feels 'Obligated' to Make Pick Right Away

    On Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted that he and the Republicans were ‘obligated’ to fill the post left by Ginsburg “without delay!”

    Trump also sarcastically ‘thanked’ former Democratic Senator Harry Reid, who pushed through reforms to Senate voting rules in 2013 to drop the number of votes needed to overcome a filibuster from 60 to a simple majority, for preventing the Democrats from being able to block a Republican-nominated from SCOTUS justice from being approved before the election.

    Trump paid an impromptu tribute to Ginsburg immediately after finding out about her death on Friday night, calling her “an amazing woman, whether you agreed or not, who led an amazing life” after being told by a reporter that she had passed away.

    The shortlist of potential replacements for Ginsburg reportedly includes Ted Cruz, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, and former Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

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