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Biden appeals to Republican senators to avoid Supreme Court confirmation ahead of election: 'Follow your conscience'

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE on Sunday appealed to Republican senators to "please follow your conscience" and avoid pushing through a Supreme Court nominee before the election. 

In a speech from Philadelphia, the former vice president directed his plea to “the handful” of Republican senators “who really will decide what happens” with the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader Ginsburg, George Floyd among options for 'Remember the Titans' school's new name Bipartisan anger builds over police failure at Capitol Lindsey Graham praises Merrick Garland as 'sound choice' to serve as attorney general MORE's death on Friday.

“Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE and Sen. McConnell have created,” Biden advised. “Don’t go there. Hold your constitutional duty, your conscience. Let the people speak. Cool the flames that have been engulfing our country.”

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Biden said he was not "being naive" by directing his speech at Trump or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate Democratic senator: COVID-19 relief is priority over impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (R-Ky.) but instead talking to Senate Republicans "who know deep down what is right for the country and consistent with the Constitution."

Biden used his speech to condemn McConnell’s decision to commit to a vote on Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, expected to be announced this week.

“To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power, and I don’t believe the people of this nation will stand for it,” he said. 

The Democratic candidate echoed his Friday comments saying that any Supreme Court nomination from Trump should be withdrawn if the former vice president wins the election.

“If Donald Trump wins the election, then the Senate should move on his selection and weigh the nominee he chooses fairly,” the former vice president said. 

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“But if I win this election, President Trump’s nominee should be withdrawn,” he added. “As the new president, I should be the one who nominates Justice Ginsburg’s successor.”

Biden concluded by saying “the last thing” the country needs ahead of the presidential election is “a constitutional crisis that plunges us deeper into the abyss, deeper into the darkness.”

“If we go down this path, I predict it will cause irreversible damage,” he said. “The infection this president has unleashed on this democracy can be fatal. Enough. Enough. Enough. We must come together as a nation.”

The Democratic presidential contender's comments come after Trump said he expects to select a woman this week to replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. 

McConnell vowed to give Trump’s nominee a vote on the Senate floor, despite blocking Merrick GarlandMerrick Brian GarlandBiden's new challenge: Holding Trump accountable Graham says he'll back Biden's CIA pick A Democratic agenda for impossibly hard times MORE’s confirmation vote in 2016, nine months ahead of the election.

The Supreme Court announced Friday evening that Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. On Friday, Biden said the winner of the election should pick who fills the Supreme Court vacancy. 

Election Day is in 44 days.