U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on judicial appointments during a brief appearance in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., September 9, 2020. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Washington, September 20 (IANS): US President Donald Trump has urged Republicans to confirm "without delay" a replacement for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the iconic champion of women's rights who passed away due to panreatic cancer at the age of 87.
"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 US Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay," Trump tweeted on Saturday.
US media cited presidential aides and advisers as saying that Trump was considering a woman for his latest Supreme Court nominee, who would also be the third appointee during his presidency. Assessment of possible options began on Saturday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Ginsburg died on Friday of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the Supreme Court said in a statement, adding that a private interment will be held at the Arlington National Cemetery, without revealing the specific date for the ceremony.
The second female Supreme Court justice in US history and a champion for equal protection under law for women, Ginsburg was nominated to the bench by then President Bill Clinton in 1993 and over the years became the most senior liberal justice on the nation's highest court.
The death of Ginsburg has set up a fierce partisan fight on Capitol Hill over whether to confirm a nominee less than 50 days away from the presidential election.
Democratic lawmakers led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as well as former President Barack Obama, all maintained that Ginsburg's replacement should be nominated by the next president to be chosen by voters in the November 3 election.
"The voters should pick the president, and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider," Biden said on Friday night.
Such a position echoed Ginsburg's dying wish.
"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed," she said in a statement dictated to her grand-daughter, Clara Spera.
On the Republican side, however, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked a Senate hearing of an Obama appointee shortly ahead of the 2016 election to replace late Justice Antonin Scalia who died in February 2019, said the Senate will vote on Trump's nominee to fill the vacancy.
Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who is on Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees announced, said the resident should tap a new justice "next week".
The number of justices on the bench reduced to eight following the passing of Ginsburg, among whom only three are liberals.
Trump is expected to swing the bench further to the right with a new appointee.
While Republicans in the Senate changed the rules so that the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice now needs 51 votes rather than a super-majority, the slight 53-47 majority they hold in the Senate means they can only afford a maximum of three defections, a scenario where Vice President Mike Pence's tie-breaking vote will be needed to seat the new candidate.