Crowds gather downtown to honor Brooklyn daughter Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell is planning to hold a vote to fill U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat with

Republican Sen. Mitt Romney announced Tuesday that he would participate in a floor vote to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the November 3 general election, triggering condemnation and a fresh wave of vows from progressives that they will keep fighting to ensure the next elected president gets to pick the nominee.

"The right to join a union, marry who you love, freely exercise your right to vote, the right of a parent with a child who has cancer not to watch helpless as their son or daughter suffers without proper health care - if you care about these things and the kind of country we live in - this election and this vacancy mean everything and by all rights - by every modicum of decency and honor - Leader McConnell and the Republican senate majority have no right - no right to fill it".

Trump, meanwhile, said in a tweet he would announce his choice to replace the late Ginsburg on Saturday, setting off a Senate battle with Democrats.

But those efforts are unlikely to delay Trump's plan to put his third justice in the high court. "There's nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his previous year".

A Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Sunday found that a majority of Americans including many Republicans also wanted the election victor to make the nomination.

But two more Republicans would have to oppose moving forward with confirmation in order for Democrats to be able to block it. Only two have taken that position. So far, only two Republican senators - Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of ME - have said they do not support voting before the November election.

Ginsburg, a pioneering advocate of gender equality, died last Friday at age 87.

In a Senate floor speech Monday on the Supreme Court vacancy, McConnell - who began with a tribute to the late Ginsburg - said point blank what he had indicated in his paper statement over the weekend, "President Trump's nominee for this vacancy will receive a vote on the floor of the Senate". The Senate and presidency were controlled by opposite parties in 2016, whereas the same party controls both four years later. But he acknowledged the court will shift to become more conservative. Although NPR initially reported it as such, Ginsburg's granddaughter Clara Spera, whom NPR said wrote down Ginsburg's wishes, has confirmed it on the record.

Public mourning events for Ginsburg will be held in front of the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday and in the Capitol on Friday.

Her replacement could steer the court in a more conservative direction on abortion, healthcare, gun rights, voting access, presidential powers and other spheres of American life.

Trump said Monday he would announce his nominee by week's end. "Exact time TBA", Trump said.

Both candidates enjoy strong support among conservative legal activists, but could potentially encounter problems in the Senate.

Barrett has always been favoured by conservatives, and those familiar with the process said interest inside the White House seemed to be waning for Lagoa amid concerns she did not have a proven record as a conservative jurist.

Democrats have few, if any, options for preventing a vote.

Some Democrats have floated a second impeachment vote in the House of Representatives, which would force the Senate to hold another trial, or holding back government funding that is due to expire on September 30, but congressional leaders have downplayed those possibilities.

"I've been around here a few years". McConnell refused to hold confirmation hearings in 2016 for President Obama's nominee, nine months before the election. The Senate could also vote in a lame-duck session after the election before a new Congress is sworn in on January 3.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate should honor Ginsburg's deathbed request that she not be replaced until the next president takes office on January 20.

"What better preparation for any of us, male or female, than to have matched wits with the justice?" she said.



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