President Donald Trump expects to announce a Supreme Court nominee next week, and that nominee will “most likely” be a woman, he told reporters on Saturday.
Trump made the comments minutes prior to departing Washington, D.C. for a rally in North Carolina. He also used to opportunity to criticize Republicans who have argued the Senate should wait to confirm a nominee until after the November 3 election.
Reports have suggested Trump’s top picks for the nomination are 7th Circuit Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, 11th Circuit Court Judge Barbara Lagoa and 4th Circuit Court Judge Allison Rushing.
“From a constitutional standpoint, I think it’s the greatest list ever assembled,” Trump said of his nominee shortlist. “I think we’ll have a very popular choice whoever that may be.”
Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have both confirmed their intention to move forward with filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s SCOTUS seat after she passed away Friday evening. The move was met with outcry from Democrats pointing to Republicans’ refusal to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat prior to the 2016 election. (RELATED: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dead At 87)
McConnell and Republicans have a 53-47 majority in the Senate, meaning four Republicans must break ranks to prevent Trump’s nominee from going through. If only three break ranks, the 50-50 tie would be decided by Vice President Mike Pence.
So far Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins have confirmed they will not support filling Ginsburg’s seat before the election, though it is unclear whether they would vote against the nominee outright or simply abstain.
“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election,” Collins said in a statement on Saturday. “In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the president or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the president who is elected on November 3rd.”