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Ashcroft to Trump: Filling Supreme Court vacancy ‘absolutely necessary’


Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft added his voice to the discussion on the vacant U.S. Supreme Court seat this week, urging President Donald Trump to appoint a nominee before the Nov. 3 election.

“As president of the United States, you must be allowed to exercise your constitutional authority by nominating and filling an open seat on the United States Supreme Court,” Ashcroft said in a letter to the president and Senate leadership. “Maintaining the integrity of our elections, especially during this time of unprecedented enmity, is an urgent need.”

Ashcroft said filling the seat quickly was “absolutely necessary” in case of a lawsuit or litigation that required a majority decision. He contended the country “can’t afford” a split on an election question. 

Ashcroft’s letter is the latest in a national conversation over the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last week. 

U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley joined other Republicans this week in urging a transition before Election Day, with many sharing the sentiment that a 4-4 split in the nation’s highest court could complicate an election if questions were to arise. 

Democrats, including presidential nominee Joe Biden, have spoken out in favor of waiting until after the election to select a nominee. Biden earlier this week said an effort to hurry the nomination along would be “an exercise in raw political power.”

Appointments to the Supreme Court must undergo a confirmation process before being facing a vote from the Senate. The span of time between a nomination and the beginning of the confirmation process has averaged 50 days over the past three decades, though it does vary from case to case, according to The Washington Post

Trump is said to be considering a few women for the job, including Judge Amy Coney Barrett, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, or Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa. Barrett has already been interviewed when the president was selecting his replacement for Justice Anthony Kennedy.