US President Donald Trump has said he will nominate a woman to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg next week, escalating a political row over her successor.
87-year-old Ginsburg, died last week Friday, just weeks before the presidential election.
Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has insisted that the decision on her replacement should wait until after the vote.
The ideological balance of the nine-member court is crucial to its rulings on the most important issues in US law.
But President Trump has vowed to swear in Ginsburg’s successor “without delay”, a move that is not going down well with Democrats, who fear Republicans will vote to lock in a decades-long conservative majority on the country’s highest court.
Meanwhile, some supporters are urging Trump to take the rare opportunity to nominate a third justice during one presidential term to a lifetime appointment on the court.