Democrats, members of the media, and Hollywood figures threatened violence on Friday if the Republican-controlled Senate moves to fill the Supreme Court vacancy left by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death.
Reza Aslan, a former CNN host, said, "If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f***ing thing down."
In response to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's commitment to vote on President Donald Trump's nominee prior to the election, Aslan said, "Over our dead bodies. Literally."
Hollywood screenwriter Beau Willimon said, "We're shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election."
We’re shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election.— Beau Willimon (@Beau Willimon) 1600473560.0
Dr. Jessie Christiansen, an Australian astrophysicist who works at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, said, "IF THEY RAM THROUGH AN APPOINTMENT IN THE NEXT TWO MONTHS I WILL RIOT."
Emmett Macfarlane, a political science professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said, "Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS."
Author Aaron Gouveia responded to McConnell's commitment by saying, "F*** no. Burn it all down."
Laura Bassett — who has written for GQ magazine, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, among other outlets — tweeted, "If McConnell jams someone through, which he will, there will be riots."
She followed that tweet by saying, "*more, bigger riots." She has since deleted her clarification.
Thanks, Laura, for letting us know who has been behind the riots. https://t.co/32chOHcsmU https://t.co/ErSvDSd6dl— Kitty Shackleford (@Kitty Shackleford) 1600478791.0
What's the background?
With the 2020 election less than two months away, Democrats and Republicans disagree on whether the vacancy should be filled. Democrats advocated filling a high court vacancy in 2016 when Barack Obama was president, while the Republican-controlled Senate blocked Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland.
However, Democrats now say the vacancy should be filled after Election Day, while McConnell has already said the Senate will vote on Trump's nominee.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned a "constitutional crisis" may unfold if the vacancy is not filled prior to the election, considering the increased likelihood of a legally contested election.
"We cannot have Election Day come and go with a 4-4 court," Cruz said Friday. "A 4-4 court that is equally divided cannot decide anything. And I think we risk a constitutional crisis if we do not have a nine justice Supreme Court, particularly when there's such a risk of a contested litigation and a contested election."
"Twenty years ago, I was part of the legal team that litigated Bush v. Gore and went to the Supreme Court. Thirty-seven days the country did not know who the president was going to be, and if we had a 4-4 court it could have dragged on for weeks and month," he explained.
Trump said Saturday that Republicans have an "obligation" to fill the Supreme Court vacancy "without delay."
"@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!" the president said.
.@GOP We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected… https://t.co/qIVpFfJmpq— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1600524627.0