President Trump said Saturday that he expects to announce his nominee to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court within the next week and that his choice would be a woman.
“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump told supporters at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, N.C., Saturday evening.
Earlier in the day, Trump told reporters at the White House that his choice would “most likely” be a woman.
“If somebody were to ask me now, I would say that a woman would be in first place. The choice of a woman, I would say, would certainly be appropriate,” Trump said.
“I think the choice will be next week,” Trump later told reporters when asked about the timing of his nomination.
Judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa are said to be among those that the president is seriously considering as nominees, sources told The Hill. Others under consideration are Judges Amul Thapar and Allison Jones Rushing. All four individuals were nominated by Trump to their current positions on the federal appellate bench.
Asked about Barrett on Saturday, Trump called her “very highly respected.” Trump also described Lagoa as “an extraordinary person” about whom he has heard “incredible things” when asked about her, but noted that he has not met her. He also noted that she is Hispanic.
Trump said he would welcome his nominee receiving a vote before Election Day on Nov. 3, but noted that the White House is working with Republican senators on the timeline.
“I don’t know. We’re working with all of the Republican senators and working with [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and we’ll be making a decision,” Trump said.
“I would think before would be very good, but we’ll be making a decision. I think the process can go very, very fast. I’ll be making my choice soon,” he continued.
Trump also made clear that he disagrees with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who issued a statement earlier Saturday stating that the upper chamber should not vote to confirm Ginsburg’s successor before the election and that the nominee should be selected by whoever wins the presidency. Trump is running for reelection against Democratic nominee Joe Biden, with polls showing the incumbent president trailing nationally and in key swing states.
The remarks represented Trump’s most extensive comments to date on his plans for a future nominee to the Supreme Court to replace Ginsburg. Earlier Saturday, Trump indicated in a tweet that he planned to move swiftly on nominating a replacement.
Ginsburg, a revered trailblazer for women’s rights and liberal leader on the high court, died due to complications from pancreatic cancer on Friday at the age of 87. News of her death immediately sent shockwaves through Washington and the country, injecting further uncertainty into the presidential election.
McConnell made clear in a statement Friday that Trump’s nominee would receive a vote on the Senate floor. McConnell previously refused to hold a vote for then-President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland in 2016 because it was during an election year. Democrats argue that Republicans should follow the model that they set during the 2016 election.
Barrett, a former clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was nominated by Trump to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017. Lagoa was nominated by Trump to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in 2019. Before that, Lagoa was the first Hispanic woman to serve as a Justice on the Florida Supreme Court.