LIBERAL writers and academics have threatened to burn down Congress if Republicans press ahead with plans to appoint a new Supreme Court judge before the election.
A former CNN host was among prominent figures who appeared to encourage violent uprising following the death of left-wing hero Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
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Justice Ginsburg's death on Friday left a vacancy on the Supreme Court - setting up an explosive battle over one of the most contentious issues in American politics.
Democrats are furious after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell suggested the GOP would hold an early vote to confirm Donald Trump's pick to replace her with a conservative.
Outspoken Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even suggested Democrats would try to pack the court with liberals by increasing the number of judges from the current nine.
As fury raged in Washington, high-profile leftists hinted at violent insurrection in posts on social media.
Trump-bashing former CNN presenter Reza Aslan tweeted to his 293,000 followers: "If they even TRY to replace RBG we burn the entire f***ing thing down."
Screenwriter Beau Willimon, who produced House of Cards and is the president of the Writers Guild of America, East, also vowed action.
He told his 164,000 followers: "We’re shutting this country down if Trump and McConnell try to ram through an appointment before the election."
'THERE WILL BE RIOTS'
Emmett Macfarlane, a professor at the University of Waterloo in Canada, tweeted: "Burn Congress down before letting Trump try to appoint anyone to SCOTUS."
Political commentator Laura Bassett, who writes for GQ and the Washington Post, said: "If McConnell jams someone through, which he will, there will be riots."
Daddy Files author Aaron Gouveia tweeted: "F*** no. Burn it all down."
Last night Ocasio-Cortez said Republicans were "violating" Justice Ginsburg's dying wish that she should not be replaced until the next president is sworn in.
The firebrand congresswoman stoked the row still further by saying Democrats should “absolutely” consider packing the court.
She said: “We should leave all options on the table, including the number of justices that are on the Supreme Court.”
Democrat nominee Joe Biden is due to make a speech on the subject later today, but has so far resisted Trump's call for him to name his own shortlist.
President Trump has appointed two Supreme Court judges in his first term - tipping the panel to a 5-4 majority for conservatives before Ginsburg's death.
He said yesterday he would seek to nominate a replacement "without delay" and said a woman will be top of his list.
Trump said: "We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices."
Sen. McConnell said Trump's nomination would get a vote in the Senate, where the GOP's majority could seal the appointment before November.
But Republicans were accused of hypocrisy after they blocked a vote on President Obama's pick for the Supreme Court shortly before the 2016 election.
Leading senators including Lindsay Graham were savaged for apparently going back on promises they made four years ago.
He said in 2016 that the appointment should be left to the incoming president and said the same rule would apply if a vacancy arose at the end of Trump's first term.
Conservatives are keen to appoint another right wing judge to the lifetime position, creating a 6-3 dominance that could last decades.
Liberals fear such a one-sided panel could reverse decades of progress on civil rights such as abortion laws.
Trump's list of potential SCOTUS picks
On September 9, Trump released a list of 20 additional people he might nominate to the Supreme Court if there was a vacancy, on top of 25 people previously named
- Bridget Bade, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
- Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
- Keith Blackwell, a justice of the Georgia Supreme Court
- Daniel Cameron, Kentucky's attorney general
- Charles Canady, a Florida Supreme Court justice
- Paul Clement, a partner with Kirkland & Ellis, LLP
- Steven Colloton, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
- Tom Cotton, US senator from Arkansas
- Ted Cruz, US senator from Texas
- Stuart Kyle Duncan, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
- Allison Eid, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit
- Steven Engel, the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice
- Noel Francisco, the US solicitor general until July
- Britt Grant, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
- Raymond Gruender, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
- Thomas Hardiman, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
- Josh Hawley, a US senator from Missouri
- James Ho, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
- Gregory Katsas, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- Raymond Kethledge, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
- Barbara Lagoa, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
- Christopher Landau, the US ambassador to Mexico
- Joan Larsen, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
- Mike Lee, a US senator from Utah
- Thomas Lee, a justice on the Supreme Court of Utah
- Edward Mansfield, a justice of the Iowa Supreme Court
- Federico Moreno, a federal judge in Florida
- Carlos Muniz, a justice on the Florida Supreme Court
- Kevin Newsom, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
- Martha Pacold, a federal judge in Illinois
- Peter Phipps, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
- Sarah Pitlyk, a federal judge in Missouri
- William Pryor, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
- Allison Jones Rushing, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
- Margaret Ryan, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
- David Stras, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
- Diane Sykes, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
- Amul Thapar, a judge of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
- Kate Todd, deputy counsel to Trump
- Timothy Tymkovich, chief judge of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
- Lawrence VanDyke, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
- Don Willett, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit
- Patrick Wyrick, a judge on the Supreme Court of Oklahoma
- Robert Young, chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court
Trump is set to name his pick in the coming week and already has shortlist in mind, according to reports.
In a phone call with McConnell on Friday night, Trump indicated he favored two women in particular, sources told The Washington Post.
Judge Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa are now tipped as the front-runners.
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Allison Jones Rushing, who served as a clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch, is also up for consideration, the Associated Press reported.
Kate Todd, who serves as the deputy assistant to the president and deputy counsel to the president, is also on the list, sources told NPR.
As Trump considers women as the top picks, one male – Judge Amul Thapar – is also reportedly being considered.