Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court this week. President Trump said he would wait until after her funeral to name his nominee to succeed her, and falsely suggested that her dying wish — that the next president replace her — was a Democratic hoax.
Senators were set to return to Washington on Monday with a Supreme Court confirmation fight looming, as Republican leaders weighed the timing of a vote to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
With President Trump vowing to name a replacement by the weekend, Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, was working behind the scenes to lock up the support he would need to proceed before Inauguration Day — and possibly before the Nov. 3 election.
Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have publicly objected to the idea of a vote before Election Day, meaning Mr. McConnell could only afford to lose one more member of his party, given his slim, 53-to-47 majority.
Attention was focused on Senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who were seen as possible holdouts but had said nothing publicly about their intentions.
Mr. Romney was the only Republican to break with his party and vote to convict and remove Mr. Trump at his impeachment trial. A vote on a Supreme Court nominee before the election could prove tricky for Mr. Gardner, who is in a tough re-election race in the politically competitive state of Colorado. And Mr. Grassley, a former chairman of the Judiciary Committee, had previously held to Republicans’ 2016 position that a Supreme Court vacancy should not be filled in an election year.
Democrats, who lack the power to block a Supreme Court confirmation on their own, are instead mounting a pressure campaign to sway the two additional Republicans who would be needed to do so.
The are also warning of the consequences if they fail. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader, said that “nothing is off the table” if Democrats were to take control of the Senate, including abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster and potentially adding additional seats to the nation’s highest court.
The political battle comes as lawmakers are already at a stalemate over another economic stimulus measure to counter the toll of the pandemic, and are working to reach consensus on a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month.
On Capitol Hill on Monday morning, dozens of protesters, organized by a local chapter of the Sunrise Movement and Shut Down D.C., a local coalition of activists, gathered outside the Washington residence of Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. Mr. Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has reneged on his vow that any Supreme Court vacancy arising in an election year should not be filled until after Inauguration Day.
Trump says he will wait until the end of the week to announce his Supreme Court pick
President Trump said on Monday that he would wait until the end of the week to nominate a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in deference to her funeral services, trimming even further the time available to confirm his selection before the Nov. 3 election as he hopes to do.
“I think it’ll be on Friday or Saturday and we want to pay respect, it looks like we will have probably services on Thursday or Friday, as I understand it, and I think in all due respect we should wait until the services are over for Justice Ginsburg,” Mr. Trump said on “Fox & Friends.”
Even as he talked about showing respect for Justice Ginsburg, Mr. Trump asserted with absolutely zero evidence that her dying wish that she not be replaced until the next president is chosen, as conveyed by her granddaughter to NPR, was actually made up by Democrats.