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President Gets Ready to Announce SCOTUS Nominee While Democrats Plan Pressure Campaign

The flag flies at half-staff at the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The flag flies at half-staff at the Supreme Court on the morning after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020 in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A somber Capitol Hill ceremony was held Friday for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, bringing days of official mourning in Washington to a close. The memorial service paid homage to Ginsburg's life and decades on the bench.

Even as Ginsburg lay in repose Thursday at the Supreme Court, before becoming the first woman to lie in state at the US Capitol Friday, the fight for her seat played out. As the president paid his respects he was greeted by boos and chants of "vote him out, vote him out" by a crowd gathered outside the court.

People pay respects as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lies in repose under the Portico at the top of the front steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

It didn't surprise pro-life activist Mallory Quigley who says if Democrats push back too hard against the president's nominee, they run the risk of turning off swing voters.

Quigley, vice president of communications at the Susan B. Anthony List, said she's watching the Democratic presidential candidate.

"I think it really will depend on Joe Biden and the tone that he sets," she said. "The tone that his campaign sets. Will we experience something like we did in 2018? If we do, I think the president has everything to gain."

The president says he'll announce his choice on Saturday. His shortlist includes five women – four federal judges and one White House lawyer. 

READ  Trump's Supreme Court Nominee Will Likely Come From This Short List of 5 Women

Amy Coney Barrett, who Trump reportedly said that he was "saving" in 2018 to be a replacement for Ginsburg, appears to top the list.

"She's already been very well-vetted," said Quigley. "She was on the shortlist for the Kavanaugh seat and she should be able to move through the process very quickly. A lot of the senators have already met her."

Barrett, a devout Catholic, appeals to the president's religious base but Barbara Lagoa, the daughter of Cuban exiles, could help the president's re-election chances by energizing Latino voters in her home state.

Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), told CBN News, "It definitely might make the difference in Florida and that could be the election – it's so close right now."

But the president, who originally planned to meet with Lagoa, now says he won't – although he says she's still a candidate.

Barrett is already facing attacks for her reported affiliation with People of Praise, a charismatic Christian community. In the past, it used the term "handmaid" to refer to female members – a biblical term used to describe Mary the mother of Jesus – which is one reason some liberal groups have questioned whether the group demeans women.

Still, most agree there's little the Democrats can do to block a Trump nominee, outside of a perfectly executed pressure campaign that would strip away four crucial GOP Senate votes.

So far, two Republicans, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have said the Senate should wait until after the election to move ahead with the confirmation process, although Murkowski won't rule out the possibility of voting to confirm the president's pick.

If the Senate approves the president's nominee, a new conservative majority on the court could decisively tip the balance in many key cases.

It could also give the president an election boost, and remind voters of the sharp differences between the two candidates.

The president in Florida Thursday night called on Biden to release his own list of Supreme Court choices, something Biden hasn't done.

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