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

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden 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 Ginsburg's death on Friday.

"Don't vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump 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."

Biden said he was not "being naive" by directing his speech at Trump or Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (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The Democratic candidate echoed his Friday comments saying that any Supreme Court nomination from Trump should be withdrawn if the former vice president wins the election.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. 

"But if I win this election, President Trump's nominee should be withdrawn," he added.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 Garland'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.

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