Washington– US President Donald Trump’s move to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the presidential election is an “abuse of power”, his Democratic rival Joe Biden has said.
Trump has said he will next week nominate a woman to replace the longstanding liberal justice. Biden has urged Senate Republicans to delay a confirmation vote.
During a speech at the Constitutional Center in Philadelphia on Sunday, Biden said the president had “made clear this is about power, pure and simple”, the BBC reported.
Ginsburg, a liberal icon and feminist standard-bearer, died on Friday aged 87. Democrats fear Republicans will vote to lock in a decades-long conservative majority on the country’s highest court.
The ideological balance of the nine-member court is crucial to its rulings on the most important issues in US law.
“The United States constitution allows Americans the chance to be heard – and their voice should be heard… they should make it clear, they will not stand for this abuse of power,” Biden said.
“I appeal to those Senate Republicans – please follow your conscience, let the people speak, cool the flames that have been engulfing our country,” he said.
“Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell created. Don’t go there.”
Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, have both backed a delay in the vote until after November’s presidential election.
If they are joined by two more Republican senators, they could block or at least delay a confirmation vote, as the Republicans have a majority of only six in the Senate.
In the event that the vote is a tie, the US constitution allows Vice-President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking vote.
Biden said that if he won the presidential election, Trump’s nominee should be withdrawn. He said he would then consult senators from both parties before putting forward his choice.
He added that it would be wrong to release his list of potential Supreme Court nominees now, as this could expose some judges to political attacks.
But he said his first choice for the supreme court “will make history as the first African American woman on the court”.
Trump has vowed to swear in Ginsburg’s successor “without delay”.
“I think it should be a woman because I actually like women much more than men,” he said at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, on Saturday. (IANS)