US President Donald Trump is not going to wait to appoint a new member of the Supreme Court, he said on Twitter on Saturday. He wants to replace progressive judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg (87) as soon as possible, who died on Friday.
Political battle just before elections
The US Supreme Court is by far the most important legal body in the country. The nine sitting judges are appointed for life and make important decisions about abortion and gay rights, among other things.
Trump has been allowed to replace two judges since his appointment. Since then, conservative judges have been in the majority (5-4) of the court.
With the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a progressive judge, a new place has become available. With that, the Republicans see their chance to expand the conservative majority.
In a tweet addressed to the Republican Party, Trump writes that it is “our obligation” to appoint a new member of the court “without delay”.
Trump’s appeal is controversial, among other things, because Ginsburg died more than six weeks before the election.
Republicans blocked Barack Obama’s appointment of progressive judge Merrick Garland in 2016. They felt that a president should not appoint a new judge to such an important post in the final year of his term.
Leader of the Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, announced on Friday that he would like to vote as soon as possible on the replacement of Ginsburg.
The justices of the Supreme Court should be neutral, but in practice they often have a political color. This is because they are nominated by the president and appointed by the Senate.
Currently, the Republicans have a 53 to 47 majority, and Senators Susan Collins (Maine) Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) are considered troublemakers, the first two of whom also opposed an appointment so shortly before the election.