WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (Sept 23) he thinks the 2020 election will end up at the US Supreme Court, adding that is why it was important to have nine justices.
Trump, speaking at an event at the White House, said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, would not even have to hold a hearing for the Supreme Court nominee and that the process would go quickly.
"I think this will end up in the Supreme Court and I think it's very important that we have nine justices," Trump said when asked if a full complement of justices was needed to handle any challenges to the Nov 3 election between him and Democrat Joe Biden.
Trump has cast doubt on the integrity of the election, saying without evidence that the use of mail-in balloting during the coronavirus pandemic would lead to fraud.
"This scam that the Democrats are pulling, it's a scam, the scam will be before the United States Supreme Court, and I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation," he said.
Only one previous US presidential election, the 2000 contest between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, had its outcome determined by the Supreme Court.
Trump is moving quickly to nominate a successor to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday, and his fellow Republicans in the Senate say they could hold a vote before the election. That would seal a 6-3 conservative majority on the court.
Trump has said he will announce his pick from among a field of five women on Saturday.
On Monday, he met at the White House with Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals, who is considered a leading contender for the job.
Asked about meeting with Judge Barbara Lagoa of the Atlanta-based 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, Trump told reporters on Wednesday: “I don’t have a meeting planned, but she is on my list.”
Supreme Court appointments require Senate confirmation, and Trump's fellow Republicans hold 53 of the chamber's 100 seats.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he intends to act on any nomination Trump makes.