White House hopefuls Joe Biden on Sunday branded Donald Trump's move to fill a position in the Supreme Court less than two months before the US presidential election as an "abuse of power", which some of the president's own party also protested against.
The prospect of a quick confirmation vote in the Senate has sparked furious withdrawal from Democrats who are desperate to stop Trump by moving the court to the right.
Two Republican senators have also registered opposition to any hasty vote to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the popular liberal justice who died on Friday 87.
Biden, who spoke on Sunday in Philadelphia, accused Trump of exercising "raw political power" by trying to "fall" through his court election in the midst of a bitterly fought election campaign.
"I think voters will make it clear – they will not stand for this abuse of power, this constitutional abuse," said Biden, who urged the Senate not to act until after the November 3 election.
"If Donald Trump wins the election, so should the Senate go ahead with his election – and weigh the nominee fairly. But if I win the election, President Trump's nomination should be withdrawn. "
The president said on Saturday that he will" move fast "and that he expected to announce his nominee during the coming week and that it "will be a woman – a very talented, very brilliant woman."
Biden urged a handful of faltering Republican senators to "follow your conscience."  Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN
The time for voting in the Senate – before the election or in the halt-and-session immediately afterwards – is still unclear.
Lisa Murkowski from Alaska said that no vote would take place before the election, and Susan Collins from Maine claimed that the election should be left to the person elected in November
With Republicans holding 53 of the 100 Senate seats, Democrats face an uphill battle to block a Trump nominee. 
In any case, politicians in both parties are set for a seismic battle in a year that has already seen an accusation, the Covid-19 pandemic and a bruise economic collapse.
 Among Democrats' Few Opportunities: Postponing Tactics in the Senate and efforts to mobilize public pressure on more moderate Republicans to split with their party.
"We have our opportunities … arrows in our quiver," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a senior Democrat, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
She gave few details, but ruled out the possibility of a government closure.
The court's vacancy has given a welcome new theme to Trump – who has fought to reduce tariffs on the coronavirus pandemic, now approaching the grim total of 200,000 deaths.
Pelosi seemed to be intent on keeping the virus version in front and in the center, and returned to that topic repeatedly during her ABC interview, just as Biden emphasized in his speech.
Democrats reject what they say is the hypocrisy of Republicans – especially Senate leader Mitch McConnell – who in 2016 blocked Barack Obama's attempt, much earlier that election year, to fill another Supreme Court position.
But Republicans now insist the situation this year is different, with the same party controlling both the Senate and the White House.
"The right thing is for the Senate to confirm before election day," Republican Senator Ted Cruz told ABC.
Both parties see the balance in court – as it decides on difficult issues, including abortion. , healthcare, arms control and LGBTQ rights – which are of paramount importance.
The Conservatives now control five of the nine seats, but Supreme Court Justice John Roberts sometimes stands with Liberals.
If confirmed quickly enough, a new Conservative justice would be part of a 6-3 majority, and could play a crucial role – in the first months on the field – if the November election faces legal challenges.
Cruz, who was on a Trump list of potential court nominees. , insisted on Sunday that a full court was needed to avoid a critical death if a battle for the election result was to reach the Supreme Court.
"An equally divided 4-4 court can not decide anything," Cruz said. "We need a full court on election day."
Media reports say Trump is focused on two potential judges: Amy Coney Barrett, a 48-year-old federal district court judge based in Chicago, and Barbara Lagoa, 52, a federal judge from Miami.
Analysts said that Lagoa, as a Cuban-American, could help Trump win votes in the key state of Florida. a major national event.