US President Donald Trump has said he will next week nominate a woman to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, escalating a political row over her successor.
Ginsburg, 87, died on Friday, just weeks before the presidential election.
Mr Trump’s Democrat rival, Joe Biden, insists the decision on her replacement should wait until after the vote.
The ideological balance of the nine-member court is crucial to its rulings on the most important issues in US law.
But President Trump has vowed to swear in Ginsburg’s successor “without delay”, a move that has infuriated Democrats, who fear Republicans will vote to lock in a decades-long conservative majority on the country’s highest court.
“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Mr Trump said at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina on Saturday. “I think it should be a woman because I actually like women much more than men.”
Some supporters chanted “Fill that seat!” as Mr Trump spoke, urging him to take the rare opportunity to nominate a third justice during one presidential term to a lifetime appointment on the court.