Washington: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he has the right to choose a Supreme Court nominee while his Democratic challenger Joe Biden asserted that the winner of the November 3 election should do it as they came face-to-face in the first presidential debate amidst heated exchanges over a number of issues including the COVID-19.
Trump, responding to a question at the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio on nominating Judge Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court to fill up the vacancy following the death of Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg, said: "We won the election and we have a right to do it".
Biden disagreed, saying "the American people have a right to have a say in the Supreme Court nominee and that occurs when they vote for a United States senators and when they vote for the President of the United States".
"They are not going to get that chance now because we are in the middle of an election already, the election has already started," the former vice president said, opposing the nomination of Judge Barrett.
"Tens of thousands of people have already voted and so the thing that should happen is we should wait, we should wait and see what the outcome of this election is because that's the only way the American people get to express their view is by who they elect as president and who they elect as vice president," Biden said.
Moderating the debate, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace asked the first question.
"My first question do both of you tonight why are you right in the argument you make and your opponent wrong, and where do you think a Justice Barrett would take the court?" he asked.
While Biden insisted that he has been elected till the next election, Trump asserted that he has been elected for four years.
"I will tell you very simply we won the election; elections have consequences. We have the Senate, we have the White House and we have a phenomenal nominee respected by all, top academic, good in every way. In fact, some of her biggest endorsers are very liberal people from Notre Dame and other places. So I think she's going to be fantastic," Trump said.
Asserting that he has plenty of time even if he did after the election itself, Trump said Barrett will be outstanding.
"She's going to be as good as anybody that has served on that court. We really feel that. We have a professor at Notre Dame highly respected by all said that she's a single greatest unit he's ever had. She's been a professor for a long time at a great school. We won the election, and therefore we have the right to choose her and very few people knowingly would say otherwise," he said.
Democrats, he asserted, wouldn't even think about not doing it if they had the opportunity.
"The only difference is they would try and do it faster. There's no way they would give it up. They had Merrick Garland, but the problem is they didn't have the election, so they were stopped, and probably that would happen in reverse also --definitely would happen in reverse. So we won the election, and we have a right to do it," Trump said.
Biden said that he is not opposed to Judge Barrett.
"She seems like a very fine person, but she's written before she went on the bench, which is her right, that she thinks that the Affordable Care Act is not constitutional.
"The other thing that's not on the court, and if it struck down, what happens? Women's rights are fundamentally changed. Once again, a woman could pay more money because she has a pre-existing condition, a pregnancy. They are able to charge a woman more for the same exact procedure a man did --gets. And that ended when we in fact passed the Affordable Care Act," Biden added.