On Wednesday, President Donald Trump called for the Senate to confirm his Supreme Court nominee as quickly as possible, insisting that the Supreme Court needs to be at full strength to counter the “scam” Democrats plan to pull in the 2020 election.
“I think this will end up in the Supreme Court,” the president said of the election, according to the White House pool report. “And I think it’s very important that we have nine justices, and I think the system is going to go very quickly. I’ll be submitting at five o’clock on Saturday the name of the person that I chose for the most important of all positions.”
“I think we should go very quickly,” the president insisted. “You see the Republicans are very united.”
Trump argued that “we have a lot of time” to confirm a justice. If the president submits his nomination on Saturday, he will have 38 days before Election Day. The Senate has confirmed two justices in a time period shorter than that: the body took 19 days to confirm John Paul Stevens and another 33 days to confirm Sandra Day O’Connor. The Senate confirmed Ruth Bader Ginsburg in only 42 days.
Trump referenced the John Paul Stevens window in his remarks. “One justice was picked in 19 days–19 days! We could do four at that rate or five,” he said. “And we have a lot of time–before the election and then you have after the election too.”
“But in terms of time, we can go to January 20th, but I think it’s better if you go before the election because I think…this scam that the Democrats are pulling — it’s a scam — the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court,” the president added.
If Republicans and Democrats must litigate the election results at the Supreme Court, Trump said he would prefer to have all nine seats filled.
“I think having a four-four situation is not a good situation if you get that — I don’t know that you get that, I think it should be eight-nothing or nine-nothing,” the president added. “Just in case, it would be more political than it should be, I think it’s very important to have a nine-justice Court.”
The chances of a contested election seem rather high, given concerns about voting by mail and multiple lawsuits challenging various state practices.
Trump also said that his shortlist is down to five women. “I can only say we are giving a person, whoever it would—I could say any of the five, frankly — five women in the finalists [would make excellent justices] and they are all world-class and brilliant in every respect.”
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Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.