VP's chief of staff on Supreme Court announcement: 'I don't think it will take us long'
Posted September 20, 2020 10:36 a.m. EDT
CNN — Vice President Mike Pence's chief of staff Marc Short told reporters Sunday that he doesn't believe the timing of President Donald Trump's announcement on a Supreme Court nominee will "take us long" following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
"I don't think it will take us long," Short said after an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."Trump, Short said, has already spoken with a lot of the candidates on his list before the seat was vacant. Short would not comment on the White House re-interviewing candidates this spring, but did not deny that they had the search process underway before there was a formal vacancy.
The vacancy on the bench creates what many conservatives view as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to move the makeup of the court from its current split of five conservative justices and four liberal justices to a more dominant 6-3 majority.
On Saturday, Trump quickly moved to make the Supreme Court vacancy seat a central issue in his reelection campaign, announcing at a rally in South Carolina that he would name a replacement for Ginsburg next week "and it will be a woman."
Short told reporters Sunday that the Supreme Court was a motivating factor in the 2016 election, but said they don't know how it will play into the 2020 race.
"Both sides are about as energized as they can be," Short said, adding this is the President's "obligation" to name a justice to the court.
After the court announced Ginsburg's death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump's nominee "will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." And Trump on Saturday said that Republicans have an "obligation" to fill the vacancy on the high court "without delay."
Senate Republicans only need a simple majority of 51 votes to confirm a new justice once one is formally nominated and there are 53 GOP senators currently, meaning McConnell can only afford to lose three Republicans.
This story is breaking and will be updated.