Five of the eight current members of the court were appointed by Republican presidents, but Mr. Trump appeared concerned that one of them, Chief Justice Roberts, might side with the three remaining liberals, as he has on occasion, leaving a 4-to-4 deadlock.
“And I think having a 4-4 situation is not a good situation, if you get that,” the president said. “I don’t know that you’d get that. I think it should be 8-nothing or 9-nothing. But just in case it would be more political than it should be, I think it’s very important to have a ninth justice.”
The unabashed expression of self-interest came as Senate leaders in the Capitol just across the street spent much of the day lobbing charges of hypocrisy at each other, each side dredging up its selective history of outrages by the other side to justify its current posture.
Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, excoriated his Democratic counterpart, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, for employing a parliamentary move to block committees from meeting more than two hours after the Senate convenes, which cut short a Senate Intelligence Committee briefing on election security. “We saw important Senate business hurt by what amounted to a temper tantrum,” Mr. McConnell said.
Mr. Schumer accused Republicans of “working with every fiber of their being to confirm a justice — despite Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s last wish, in contradiction to her dying, most fervent wish — who will reverse her legacy.”
The president plans to announce his nomination at 5 p.m. Saturday, and advisers expect him to select Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, a favorite of anti-abortion conservatives. The Senate Judiciary Committee may hold confirmation hearings as soon as Oct. 12, with a final confirmation vote the last week of October.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, warned that women’s rights would be undercut if Mr. Trump succeeded, alluding to fears that a more conservative court could strike down the Affordable Care Act.