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Saturday October 24th, 2020 10:21AM

The Latest: Grassley supports GOP push for Trump court pick

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (all times local):

7 p.m.

Sen. Chuck Grassley will support the Republican push to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this year despite his stand in 2016 that a new justice shouldn’t be confirmed in a presidential election year.

Grassley says in a statement that “the Constitution gives the Senate that authority, and the American people’s voices in the most recent election couldn’t be clearer.”

As the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2016, Grassley and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a hearing for President Barack Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, after the February death of Justice Antonin Scalia. They said the new president should decide on Scalia’s replacement.

Since then, Grassley has said that if he were the chairman in 2020, he would not take up a new nomination. But he said if there were a new chairman, that person would have to make that call. Current Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and McConnell have said the situation is different this year because Republicans hold both the Senate and the presidency.

Grassley is backing them up, saying, “While there was ambiguity about the American people’s will for the direction of the Supreme Court in 2016 under a divided government, there is no such ambiguity in 2020.”

___

HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SUPREME COURT VACANCY

— President Donald Trump says he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday.

— Potential nominees include federal appellate judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa.

— Kamala Harris is poised to become a leading figure in the Democratic opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

— The body of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court this week.

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Follow AP’s Supreme Court coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/ruth-bader-ginsburg

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6:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump has met with Amy Coney Barrett at the White House as he evaluates prospective nominees to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

A person familiar with the vetting process but not authorized to discuss it confirmed the Monday meeting to The Associated Press.

Later, Trump told reporters at the White House that he has been speaking with potential nominees over the last two days and held out the possibility of also meeting with Barbara Lagoa when he travels to Florida this week.

Some aides have touted the political advantages of Lagoa being Hispanic and hailing from Florida.

Barrett, a devout Roman Catholic, is hailed by religious conservatives and others on the right as an ideological heir to conservative Antonin Scalia, the late Supreme Court justice for whom she clerked.

Trump says five women are under consideration.

Barrett is emerging as an early favorite. Interest in Lagoa inside the White House seemed to be waning Monday amid some conservatives’ concerns that she did not have a proven record as a conservative jurist, according to the person familiar with the vetting process.

— Associated Press writer Zeke Miller

___

5 p.m.

President Donald Trump says five women are being carefully vetted to become his nominee for the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Trump spoke to reporters on the South Lawn on Monday before traveling to Ohio. Trump says he’ll make a selection decision probably on Friday or Saturday.

Trump says he believes that senators have plenty of time to evaluate the nominee and hold a vote before the Nov. 3 election. He says that it would send a message of “solidarity” and that “I have an obligation to do this.”

Democrats have said that GOP lawmakers should follow the precedent they set in 2016 when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to act on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, saying it was an election year.

The 2020 election is 43 days away.

But Trump says voters put the Republican senators in their position “because of a certain ideology” and it would be bad for them politically to wait in taking the vote.

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4:20 p.m.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, the only Democrat who voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh, says he’s siding with lawmakers in his own party who say the Senate shouldn’t vote on a Supreme Court nominee before the Nov. 3 election.

Manchin says the process shouldn’t be rushed, “and it is simply irresponsible to rush the adequate and proper vetting required of any new candidate for the bench.”

He is not saying whether he thinks the next president should make the pick, as most of his Democratic colleagues have said. In 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a hearing or a vote on Merrick Garland, then-President Barack Obama’s pick for the court, saying the Senate shouldn’t vote so close to a presidential election.

“For Mitch McConnell and my Republican colleagues to rush through this process after refusing to even meet with Judge Merrick Garland in 2016 is hypocrisy in its highest form,” Manchin said.

___

4 p.m.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says the GOP effort to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by the end of the year is a “craven” move that flips the Republicans’ own logic on its head.

Schumer spoke Monday just after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that the Senate would vote “this year” on Ginsburg’s replacement to the high court.

The New York Democrat noted that in 2016, Senate Republicans blocked President Barack Obama’s nominee to the high court on the grounds that it was too close to Election Day.

But now, President Donald Trump and McConnell are thundering toward confirming Ginsburg’s replacement. McConnell says it’s because in 2016, there was a divided government. Now, Republicans control the presidency and the Senate.

Ginsburg died Friday at age 87.

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3:40 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will vote “this year” to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but he is not saying whether there will be a vote before or after Election Day.

McConnell says there is “overwhelming precedent” for the Senate to act quickly on a nomination. The average time to confirm a nominee in recent years is more than two months, but some nominees, including Ginsburg, were confirmed much faster than that.

“The Senate has more than sufficient time to process a nomination,” McConnell says. “History and precedent make that perfectly clear.”

Democrats have called on the GOP-led Senate to let the next president decide, as McConnell delayed a vote on an open Supreme Court seat until after the election in 2016.

Ginsburg, 87, died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

__

2:40 p.m.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he believes his role in the confirmation process for a new Supreme Court justice will likely bolster his reelection bid.

At an event for a congressional candidate Monday, Graham said in North Charleston, South Carolina, that he feels his defense of Brett Kavanaugh during a contentious 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearing has given him conservative bona fides that will help boost him to reelection in a tight race with Democrat Jaime Harrison.

“I don’t know what it is about me and moments and lightning, but lightning has struck again,” Graham said of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the pivotal role that he will play in the process to replace her.

As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham will shepherd the confirmation process.

In 2016, when Antonin Scalia died, Graham supported a move by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to refuse a confirmation hearing for President Barack Obama's nominee. They said then that it wouldn't be right to confirm a justice during an election year. Scalia died 237 days before the 2016 election.

Ginsburg died 46 days before the 2020 election.

___

12:20 p.m.

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff says President Donald Trump has reached a “new low” for suggesting Democrats were behind a report that the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she did not want to be replaced until a new president is inaugurated.

NPR reported Friday that Ginsburg dictated a statement in her final days that said: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

Ginsburg dictated the statement to Clara Spera, her granddaughter, according to NPR’s Nina Totenberg, who has covered the Supreme Court for decades but is also a longtime personal friend of the late justice.

On “Fox & Friends” on Monday, Trump claimed without evidence: “I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” referring also to Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Schiff later tweeted: “No, I didn’t write Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish to a nation she served so well, and spent her whole life making a more perfect union. But I am going to fight like hell to make it come true. No confirmation before inauguration.”

Ginsburg, 87, died Friday from metastatic pancreatic cancer.

___

11:45 a.m.

The body of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court this week, with arrangements to allow for public viewing despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Ginsburg’s casket will be on public view Wednesday and Thursday under the portico at the top of the iconic steps in front of the building. A private ceremony will take place at the court on Wednesday morning.

House Speaker Nancy Pelsosi announced that Ginsburg will lie in state in the Capitol's Statuary Hall on Friday. That ceremony will be open only to invited guests, Pelosi said.

Ginsburg will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service, the court said.

The justice died Friday at age 87.

Congress made similar arrangements for a public viewing outside the Capitol after Rep. John Lewis’ death in July.

___

8:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s narrowed his list of candidates to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to four or five candidates.

In a Monday interview with “Fox & Friends,” the president confirmed that among the top contenders are Indiana’s Amy Coney Barrett and Florida’s Barbara Lagoa, both appellate court judges he appointed. Trump also indicated that Allison Jones Rushing, a 38-year-old appellate judge from North Carolina, is also on the short-list.

Trump has promised to nominate a woman for the high court, adding that his preference is for someone younger who could hold sway on the nation’s jurisprudence for potentially four or five decades. Trump says he’ll aim to announce his pick on Friday or Saturday, after funeral services for Ginsburg conclude.

Trump adds: “I think that would be good for the Republican Party and I think it would be good for everybody to get it over with.”

Ginsburg, 87, died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

___

8:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after funeral services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

He told “Fox & Friends” on Monday that he had a list of five finalists, “probably four,” and that he is pushing for a confirmation vote before Election Day.

Trump disparaged reports that Ginsburg had told her granddaughter it was her wish that a replacement justice not be confirmed until the inauguration of a new president. Trump said he thought his Democratic political foes were behind the report, including Rep. Adam Schiff, who led the House impeachment probe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” Trump said. “I would be more inclined to the second ... But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff.” his nickname for the California congressman. Trump frequently disparages Schiff, without evidence as being behind a conspiracy against him.

Ginsburg, 87, died Friday of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

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