Donald Trump has been booed and heckled while paying his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whose death has triggered a political row.
The president and wife Melania, both wearing masks, stood silently behind the late Supreme Court Justice’s coffin in Washington DC as her body lay in repose at the country’s highest court.
On Friday, she will be moved to lie in state at the US Capitol – the first woman to receive such an honour, before being buried next week in a private service at Arlington National Cemetery.
Image: A ceremony took place on Wednesday for Justice Ginsburg at the country’s highest court
Mr Trump has sparked controversy by planning to replace her on the court before November’s presidential election.
Moments after he arrived at the court, booing could be heard from some in the crowd who then briefly chanted: “Vote him out”.
He is set to announce on Saturday his nominee to fill the seat of the liberal-leaning justice and women’s rights champion.
The 87-year-old had sat on the Supreme Court since 1993 until her death on Friday due to complications from pancreatic cancer.
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Her dying wish was reportedly that she would not be replaced until a new president was installed.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has accused Mr Trump of an “abuse of power” over his plans to replace her before the 3 November poll.
Mr Biden urged Senate Republicans to delay any vote on her replacement until after the election.
Democrats argue that voters should have their say first on election day and the winner of the White House battle should fill the post.
The procedure for appointing a Supreme Court justice allows the president to nominate a candidate and then requires the Senate to confirm them.
This would give Mr Trump the opportunity to expand the court’s conservative majority to 6-3, from 5-4.
It had previously been made up of an even balance of four liberal justices and four conservatives, with Anthony Kennedy considered a more neutral member of the court who would frequently become the swing vote in 5-4 decisions.
Mr Trump replaced him with conservative judge Brett Kavanaugh when he retired in 2018.
Democrats have pointed to the Republican Senate’s refusal in 2016 to act on then president Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
Conservative Antonin Scalia had died 10 months before that year’s election, and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell then said the Senate should not act on a nominee during an election year.
Image: Justice Ginsburg was a liberal and a women’s rights champion
But McConnell has reversed his stance this time and is pushing ahead with plans to begin the confirmation process, vowing to vote this year on Mr Trump’s nominee.
It would take four Republicans to break ranks to keep Mr Trump’s nominee off the court.
The president has refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses November’s election and said he believes the Supreme Court could end up deciding result.
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Announcing a nominee on Saturday would leave less than 40 days for the Senate to hold a confirmation vote before the election.
No nominee has won confirmation that quickly since Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court in 1981.
Source : Sky News