With a raucous North Carolina crowd chanting “fill that seat,” President Donald Trump on Saturday said he is moving full speed ahead on nominating a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump told the Fayetteville, N.C., audience.
Trump opened with a salute to Ginsburg, a fierce opponent and a member of the court’s liberal wing.
“As we meet tonight, our nation mourns the loss of a legal giant Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her landmark rulings, fierce devotion to justice and her courageous battle against cancer inspire all Americans.
“You may agree. You may not disagree with her, but she was an inspiration to a tremendous number of people. I say, all Americans. Justice Ginsburg’s close relationship with a friend of ours, a friend of mine, Justice Scalia, is also a powerful reminder that we can disagree on fundamental issues while treating each other with decency, dignity, and respect,” Trump said.
Trump then shifted to the business at hand.
“So Article II of our Constitution says the president shall nominate justices of the Supreme Court. I don’t think it can be any more clear, can it? I don’t think so. I don’t think so,” he said.
The crowd then began its first round of chanting, “Fill that seat. Fill that seat. Fill that seat.”
Trump laughed, then noted the large media presence.
“I hope you hear that back home. Look at all that press. That’s a lot of press. That’s a lot of fake news. Well, I hope they hear. So the chant, this is a new one. ‘Fill that seat.’ This is the chant. This can only happen to me. ‘Fill that seat.’ Now it says the president is supposed to fill the seat, right? And that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to fill the seat,” he said.
The video is below. Trump’s comments about Ginsburg start about the 1:40 mark.
He noted that filling the seat in an election year has a vast historical precedent.
“There have been 29 times the vacancy opened during an election year or prior to an inauguration. Twenty-nine times, that’s a lot. Every single time the sitting president made a nomination. That included, did you ever hear of George Washington? Did you ever hear of Thomas Jefferson?” Trump said.
“Think of it. Twenty-nine times, every single time nobody said, ‘Oh, let’s not fill the seat.’ We won the election. Now then we have some senators that, forget it. Think of it, I won’t say it. I won’t say it, Susan. I won’t say it, Susan,” he said, referring to Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who earlier Saturday issued a statement saying she would not support voting for a nominee until after the election.
“But Thom Tillis is with us,” Trump said, citing the North Carolina Republican senator. “I can tell you that. Great. We have great Republican senators. We have great people and we have a great country. That’s really, we have a great country. And we’re going to keep it that way. So we win an election and those are the consequences. It’s called ‘fill that seat’ and that’s what we’re doing.”
Trump said that the Supreme Court was a key issue for America’s voters, and he is heeding their will.
“In both the 2016 and the 2018 elections, the American people chose a president and a Senate majority united in their commitment to selecting nominees who believe in applying the Constitution as written. Both the White House and the Senate majority have a moral duty to fulfill the promises they made to the voters. And that is exactly what we’re going to do,” Trump said.
“We said that if for any reason, we have a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court, we will fill that vacancy. We’re not going to say, and by the way, we have plenty of time. There’s a lot of time. You’re talking about January 20th,” he said.
“So we will uphold equal justice under the law for citizens of every race, color, religion, and creed. I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump said.
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