The ideological balance of the nine-member court is crucial to its rulings on the most important issues in US law..
A major political battle is underway in the United States after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Just weeks away from the November 3rd general election, President Trump and his Republican Party have vowed to force through a replacement. But Democrats say that's an abuse of power and are urging Republicans to "let the people speak."
Talking in Philadelphia on Sunday, the Democrat presidential candidate, Joe Biden, made a direct appeal to the Republican Senators:
"Please follow your conscience. Don't vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created. Don't go there. Uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience."
The ideological balance of the nine-member court is crucial to its rulings on the most important issues in US law.
Democrats fear Republicans will vote to lock in a decades-long conservative majority on the country's highest court. President Trump says he will nominate a woman to replace the long-standing liberal justice next week.
Scott Lucas is Professor of American Studies and International Politics at the University of Birmingham. He says the chance to appoint a Supreme Court Justice could be a poisoned chalice for the Republican party in the run-up to the November election.
"The Trump camp's gamble is...that they can secure what's been mythically called the Trump base...because the hope would be that a conservative court can make abortion illegal. I think however that it is a big gamble, because it's just as likely voters may be turned off by this rush to make the court political and to do it so quickly."
To listen to the full interview with Professor Scott Lucas, click on the media player above.