File: US Supreme Court Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Samuel Alito listen as US President Trump (2nd R) speaks during the swearing-in ceremony of Brett Kavanaugh (R) as Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court at the White House in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON - US President Donald Trump vowed Saturday to nominate a successor, likely a woman, to replace late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg "very soon."
"We will have a nominee very soon," he told reporters in Washington, adding: "Most likely it would be a woman."
Ginsburg, a progressive icon and a vocal Trump opponent, died Friday at the age of 87.
Her death gives the president the opportunity to tilt the nine-justice Supreme Court bench solidly toward the right for decades to come with a 6-3 conservative majority.
"We want to respect the process and the process will move, I think it's going to move quickly actually," Trump told reporters.
Ginsburg's death comes just weeks before the November 3 presidential election, offering Republicans a chance to lock in a conservative majority at the court.
Only two female justices remain on the court: Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, both progressives appointed by former president Barack Obama.
Trump told reporters he would likely choose a female replacement.
"I think I could say that - it would be a woman. If somebody were to ask me now, I would say that a woman would be in first place, yes, the choice of a woman I would say would certainly be appropriate," he said.