This is a rush transcript from “Fox News Sunday" September 20, 2020. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.
A historic showdown over Supreme Court vacancy with just six weeks until Election Day.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, it says the president is supposed to fill the seat, right? And that's what we are going to do. We're going to fill the seat.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: The voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider.
WALLACE: The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sparking a fierce debate in the race for president over the future of the court.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing President Trump's nominee will get a vote, while Democrats say selection of a new justice must wait until next year.
We'll talk with GOP Senator Tom Cotton, who's on the president's short list for the Supreme Court, and Chris Coons, a key member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and part of Joe Biden's inner circle.
Then, we'll ask our Sunday panel how Justice Ginsburg's death reshapes the presidential race.
Plus, Bill Gates, his foundation spends billions on public health around the world, gives his take on how the U.S. has handled the coronavirus pandemic.
All, right now, on "FOX News Sunday."
WALLACE: And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
With six weeks until Election Day, the stakes got just a whole lot higher. The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves a vacancy on the Supreme Court and adds a big issue to the race for the White House. President Trump says he will nominate a new justice, a chance to create a solid 6-3 conservative majority on the court.
The Democrats are crying foul, saying voters should get a say, electing a president and a new Senate before a justice is named to the court.
In a moment, we'll talk with two key players in this fight, Republican Senator Tom Cotton and Democratic Senator Chris Coons.
But, first, let's bring David Spunt at the Supreme Court with what looks to be a bitter nomination fight in the final days of the campaign -- David.
DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris.
Mourners began coming to the steps of the Supreme Court Friday evening to honor the second woman to sit on the high court. The president is pushing hard to fill a third woman on the high court as soon as possible.
TRUMP: I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman.
SPUNT: President Trump making it clear, a battle over the future of the Supreme Court is underway. Several thousand paid respects by candlelight to 87-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a champion of women's rights.
RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTIC: I, Ruth Bader Ginsburg --
SPUNT: Across the street from the court, the battle to fill her seat is just beginning. President Trump's nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. A single sentence giving progressives heartburn.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling Democrats in a caucus call: If Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year.
In 2016, following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, then-President Barack Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland for the high court but McConnell denied Garland a hearing. The Senate majority leader now fending off because of hypocrisy, says this time is different.
Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite party president's Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year, he said in a statement.
Former Vice President Joe Biden now fighting for the president and Senate elected in November to choose the new justice.
BIDEN: We should do this with full consideration and -- and that is my hope and expectation what will happen.
SPUNT: The court is still in its summer recess. The next term begins two weeks from tomorrow -- Chris.
WALLACE: David Spunt reporting from the Supreme Court, David, thank you.
And joining us now, Republican Senator Tom Cotton, who, as we mentioned, is on President Trump's short-list of candidates for the court. Senate Majority Leader McConnell, as we noted, has said flatly that the president's choice, new choice for a justice will get a vote on the Supreme Court.
Senator Cotton, are you talking about a vote on this justice before the election six weeks from Tuesday?
SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Good morning, Chris. At the outset, first, let me express my condolences to Justice Ginsburg's family and my regard for her lifelong dedication to public service.
As for your question, the president said he's going to it submit a nominee probably as early as this week and the Senate will exercise our constitutional duty. We will process that nomination. We will conduct hearings. We will be thorough and deliberate and careful, just as we were with nominations of Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh. We will move forward without delay.
WALLACE: Does that mean that there will be a vote to confirm before the election?
COTTON: Chris, there will be a vote. There have been some cases, like Justice Ginsburg herself, in which the nomination and confirmation process took less than 44 days. There have been other cases in which it took longer. So it's too soon to say right now. But we will move forward without delay.
WALLACE: So, you're suggesting that you might have the confirmation vote before the election, but the -- the hearing, rather, before the election but the actual vote after. Let's take a look, you raised it, at how long it has traditionally taken the Senate to confirm a new justice. Let's put this up on the screen.
Since 1975, the average has been 40 days from when a president nominates of justice until the Senate holds its first hearing. And 70 days from nomination to Senate confirmation. We now have 44 days until the election and there has been no nomination by the president yet. Why the rush to judgment?
COTTON: Chris, we are not going to rush. We are not going to cut corners or steps. We are going to move forward without delay. And as I said, there have been some cases in which it has taken newer than 44 days, to include Justice Ginsburg's confirmation process herself, some it has taken longer. We will move forward without delay and in deliberate fashion, we will process the president's nominee. And I believe that we will confirm that nominee as well.
WALLACE: Back in 2016, after Justice Scalia died, President Obama named federal judge Merrick Garland as his new nominee to the court. And, as you well know, you were part of the Senate then, Senate Republicans blocked the choice of Garland. Here's what you said at that time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COTTON: In a few short months, we will have a new president, and new senators, we can consider the next justice with the full faith of the American people. Why would we cut off the national debate about this next justice? Why would we squelch the voice of the people? Why would we deny the voters a chance to weigh in on the make-up of the Supreme Court?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Now, Garland was nominated nine months before the election, and you were saying then nine months before the election it was wrong to deny voters a chance to weigh in. So if it was wrong then, nine months before the election, why is it OK now, six weeks before the election?
COTTON: So, Chris, in 2014, the American people elected a Republican majority to the Senate to put the brakes on President Obama's judicial nominations. In 2018, we had a referendum on this question, just a month before the 2018 midterms. We had the vote on Justice Kavanaugh. There could not have been a clearer mandate because the American people didn't just re- elect Republicans, they expanded our majority. They defeated four Democratic senators who voted against Justice Kavanaugh. There re-elected the one Democratic senator who did vote for Justice Kavanaugh.
So we have a clear mandate to perform our constitutional duty. That's what the Senate majority will do now. That's what we did back in 2016 as well.
WALLACE: You really don't think there is any hypocrisy at all in saying we need to give voters -- because, I mean, you can parse the 2014 election, the 2018 election any way you want, but you stated a pretty firm principle in 2016 about Merrick Garland. It's wrong to deny voters a chance to weigh in. You don't see any hypocrisy between that position then and this position now?
COTTON: Chris, the Senate majority is performing our constitutional duty and fulfilling the mandate that the voters gave us in 2016 and especially in 2018.
WALLACE: I just want to -- I promise this is the last question on this particular subject. Let's do a thought experiment. You're a lawyer, you do hypotheticals, or you did when you were in law school. Let's assume if President Trump were to lose in the election six weeks from now, if the Senate were to change hands so that it went from Republicans to Democrats, in a lame duck session with a president who had been defeated and a Republican majority that was about to be out of office, some would say the lamest of lame duck sessions, are you saying you still think it would be proper to vote to confirm President Trump's nominee to the court?
COTTON: Chris, as I said, we are going to move forward without delay and there will be a vote on this nominee. But to the point, Donald Trump is going to win re-election and I believe the Senate Republicans will win our majority back because the American people know that Donald Trump is going to put nominees up for the federal courts who will apply the law, not make the law.
Joe Biden is not going to do that. Joe Biden still refuses to even identify who he might nominate. And Joe Biden and Senate candidates like Cal Cunningham in North Carolina and Theresa Greenfield in Iowa need to put their cards on the table. They need to say what they would do in this kind of nomination.
WALLACE: OK, let me ask you one other question about this. Republicans now have a 53 to 47 vote majority. So you can only afford to lose three Republican senators, assuming that all the Democrats oppose the president's nominee, and still get -- I guess it's going to -- we can say she, because the president says it will be a woman, confirmed with Mike Pence breaking the vote.
But let's look at the tally of where Republican senators stand at this point. In recent days, senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski have both expressed doubts about confirming a justice so close to an election. Chuck Grassley has as well. So the question is, how sure are you, Senator, that Republicans will actually have the 50 votes plus Vice President Pence to confirm a Trump nominee?
COTTON: Well, Chris, I will let all those senators speak for themselves and make their decisions on their timeline. As Mitch McConnell has said, there will be a vote. And I don't think that we should discount Democratic votes either. As I mentioned, the one Democratic senator up for re-election in 2018 who voted for Justice Kavanaugh was re-elected.
Now I know the Democrats are saying radical things right now. Democrats are threatening to riot in the streets. Democrats are already rioting in the streets though. They are threatening to pack the court. They were already threatening to pack the court. Democratic senators can look at what happened in 2018 when four of their colleagues lost their re-election a month after voting for Justice Kavanaugh and the one who did vote for Justice Kavanaugh got re-elected.
So I wouldn't discount Democratic votes at this point either.
WALLACE: I've got a couple of minutes left, I want to get to the actual issues at stake here because there are a lot of big issues at stake. You say -- you're on the record as saying that Roe v. Wade should go. Do you hope, and do you expect that if a Trump nominee has confirmed that she will vote to end a woman's right to choose?
COTTON: Chris, I'm pro-life, and my views on this are well-known and there's no need to restate them at length here. But what President Trump has done is assembled a highly capable pool of jurists on his lists who understand that their job is not to make the law, their job is to apply the law. Beyond that I can't speculate about the outcomes of hypothetical cases years down the road.
WALLACE: But you do support the idea, and I assume you would support the idea of a justice voting to end Roe v. Wade?
COTTON: Again, Chris my views on Roe are well-known and they're long- standing. I believe Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided because it took that question away from the American people acting through their state legislatures. But beyond that I can't speculate about the hypothetical outcome of a case that hasn't yet been started.
WALLACE: Well, let me talk about a case that has been started and that the court is going to hear this term. There's a lawsuit to overturn Obamacare. Would you hope that a justice appointed by Donald Trump would vote to end to overturn the Affordable Care Act?
COTTON: Well, Chris, I think the Supreme Court got that case wrong eight years ago, especially on the so-called individual mandate which fined Americans for not being able to afford health insurance the federal government made unaffordable in the first place. That's one reason I led the charge in Congress to repeal the individual mandate, which had fined more than 7 million Americans.
That case, however, is being decided -- or argued, I should say, right after the election. It's not clear to me yet whether we will have a new justice confirmed, so I can't speculate on how the court is going to rule on that particular case or if this nominee will be seated in time to rule on that case.
WALLACE: So, finally, I was going to ask you since you are on the president's short list, whether or not you would accept his nomination to the court, given that he now says it's a woman, do you want to ask him to reconsider or are you OK with a woman on the court?
COTTON: Yes, Chris, I guess we can break some news here, that I'm not under consideration since the president said he is going to nominate a woman. And I have already communicated with the White House that now is not the time to have me under consideration. I'm on the ballot in Arkansas, under Arkansas election law, we are long past the time to change the ballot.
So I'm looking forward to working with the president to confirm this nominee, to campaign for re-election myself, and to re-elect the president, because it's about more than just this single nominee, it's about nomination to the Supreme Court in the future as well.
WALLACE: Senator Cotton, thank you, thanks for your time, always good to talk with you, sir.
COTTON: Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll get reaction from Senator Chris Coons, a key ally of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
WALLACE: When President Trump nominates a new justice, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on the pick. Democratic Senator Chris Coons is a key member of that committee and also part of Joe Biden's inner circle.
Senator, what's wrong with President Trump and the Senate going ahead and confirming a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg? I understand you won't like their choice, but there's nothing in the Constitution that curtails their powers, even if it's just six weeks before the election.
SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Well, Chris, thanks for a chance to be on with you again.
First, we should start by, if I can, offering my condolences to the family, the loved ones, of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She spent 27 years on our country's highest court as a towering figure, a trailblazer, somebody who fought for gender equity. And I'll remind you, her dying wish, dictated to her granddaughter, as she passed on Rosh Hashanah, was that the voters should choose the next president, the next president should choose her successor. That's because she understood deeply our Constitution and the significance of the Supreme Court and its legitimacy.
For the Republican majority, just 44 days before the next presidential election, to rush through a new justice, in a partisan confirmation process, will further divide our country, will further challenge the legitimacy of the court, and I think would dishonor Justice Ginsburg's legacy.
WALLACE: But, in 2016, when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland, as we just discussed with Tom Cotton, to the court, and Republicans decided to block it, you were outraged. You wrote this. Now, all 100 members of the Senate must do our jobs by providing advice and consent on the president's nominee.
You wanted the Senate to go ahead and vote on Merrick Garland. I understand nine months is longer than six weeks, but, sir, the principle is the same.
COONS: Well, here's two key differences, if I might, Chris. First, in 25 states across our country, half of our states, Americans are already voting for the next president. We're not ten months or nine months away from an election, we're just 44 days from an election and an election where in half our states votes are already being cast.
Second, the Republican majority set this new precedent. They set it in 2016. They fought hard for it. In fact, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, restated it in 2018. So if they were going to set a new precedent that in an election year there shouldn't be a hearing, meetings, votes, they should live by it.
One of my friends, my colleague, Senator Murkowski, said in announcing that she would oppose any vote on a nominee before the next president is sworn in, fair is fair. And I, frankly, think the Republican majority should live with the precedent they set in 2016.
WALLACE: All right, let's get to the -- to the bottom line here, because some people would say this is really about power, who has the votes, much more than it is about principle.
If President Trump goes ahead, as he says he will, and nominates someone to the court, and if the Senate, as Senator McConnell says it will, goes ahead and decide to hold the confirmation hearing and then to hold a final confirmation vote, bottom line, is there anything Democrats can do to stop it?
COONS: Well, Chris, it shouldn't come to that. And so I've been appealing personally to my colleagues, Republicans and independents, to reflect on how this will impact the Senate, the Supreme Court, its legitimacy. We're already divided enough, Chris, and there's already enough important issues on the ballot this November. Healthcare is on the ballot. As you just said with Senator Cotton in your previous interview, the Supreme Court is hearing a landmark decision on -- just a week after the election --
COONS: In which President Trump and 18 Republican states attorneys general are trying to take away healthcare from a hundred million Americans in the midst of a pandemic. And there's six million Americans who have been infected, meaning they may have new, pre-existing conditions.
And I'll remind you, a key -- a key element of the Affordable Care Act is gender equity.
WALLACE: I don't mean to interrupt, Senator, but -- but the specific question I asked -- Senator, I -- I -- I understand all of that. I asked you a direct question, though, is there anything Democrats can do to stop it?
COONS: Well, the Republican majority is going to be responsible for what we do in the next 44 days. We ought to be delivering relief from this pandemic. We ought to be taking up and voting on --
COONS: A package that will help schools open safely and support more vaccine research and support state and local governments. Mitch McConnell hasn't done that work in the six months since we last passed a relief package.
COONS: That's what we should be doing.
WALLACE: I -- I understand.
COONS: Not rushing through a nominee.
WALLACE: I'm just -- OK.
During a call with all of the Democratic senators yesterday, your leader, Chuck Schumer, said this. I want to put it up on the screen. If Republicans move ahead to confirm a justice, quote, then nothing is off the table for next year. Nothing is off the table.
Does that mean, Senator, that if Democrats take back the majority in the Senate next year, that when you say "nothing is off the table," that you will end the filibuster for legislation? Does it mean that you will pack the court? That you will add enough justices so that Democrats again have a majority on the court?
COONS: Well, I'll let -- I'll let Senator Schumer speak for himself, but here's what I know. Joe Biden said I think yesterday that everything's on the table for the election, meaning the consequences of this election for healthcare, for women's rights, for equality, for equity, for clean air and clean water are profound. And we should let the voters speak in this next election.
I'll remind you again, half of our states are already voting for the next president. We should honor Justice Ginsburg's last wish and let the voters pick the next president, the next president pick the next justice. We shouldn't be racing through this partisan process, which will further divide us in the Senate. And I, frankly, think further undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court, an institution our democracy badly needs to function.
WALLACE: Let's -- let -- let's focus -- and -- and we're running out of time, so I'm going to ask you to be brief here, sir.
If President Trump does get his nominee confirmed to the court, either before the election or in a lame duck session, what's at stake here? What does it mean for the court?
COONS: Yes, there's a huge amount at stake here, Chris, that's why Justice Ginsburg made this her dying wish. The legitimacy of the court will be harmed by its further politicization. Just 44 days before an election, when the Republican majority, just four years ago, when Justice Ginsburg's close friend Justice Scalia passed away, insisted on keeping that seat open for nearly ten months. I think it further suggests to the American people that this is all about politics, not about principle.
I am going to be working this weekend, this week, to reach across the aisle and see if I can't persuade some friend to respect tradition, to respect the precedent they set in 2016 and to let the voters decide.
WALLACE: Finally, as I noted earlier, you're a member of Joe Biden's inner circle.
How do you think -- let's assume, and I think there's every reason to assume, what we've heard from the president, we've heard from McConnell, we've heard from Tom Cotton today, they're going to go ahead with this. How does this reshape the race for president?
COONS: Well, I think it further focuses the American people on what's at stake. I'll remind you, Justice Ginsburg fought relentlessly for gender equity. That's why there were thousands of people at the steps of the Supreme Court last night, peacefully, quietly recognizing and mourning her passing.
The Affordable Care Act prevents discrimination based on gender by insurance companies. And there's a case in front of the Supreme Court where President Trump, with the support of 47 Republican senators, is trying to take that away. That's what's at stake in this election. That's what's at stake in terms of who fills the seat left vacant by the tragic passing of Justice Ginsburg.
WALLACE: Senator Coons, thank you. Thanks for your time this weekend. Please come back, sir.
COONS: Thank you, Chris.
WALLACE: Up next, we'll bring in our Sunday group to break all this down. Do Senate Republicans have the votes to actually confirm an injustice, and how will this reshape the race for president and the battle for control of the Senate?
WALLACE: Coming up, Bill Gates weighs in on the impact of the coronavirus on the developing world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL GATES, GATES FOUNDATION: Because of the pandemic, we've had huge setbacks, you know, in some cases erasing literally decades of progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: More from our exclusive interview later on "FOX News Sunday."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So we win an election and those are the consequences. You know it's called fill that seat and that's what we're doing.
JOE BIDEN, (D), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Let me be clear that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: President Trump and Joe Biden on the stakes of appointing a new justice to the Supreme Court in the final days before the election.
And it's time now for our Sunday group.
GOP strategist Karl Rove, "FOX NEWS AT NIGHT" anchor Shannon Bream, who covers the Supreme Court for us, and Mo Elleithee of Georgetown University's Institute of Politics and Public Service.
Panel, I've done some reporting on this and here's what I have been hearing from a source, a top source, close to the process. Republican senators and White House officials are pressing the president to announce his nominee before the first debate next week. A consensus seems to be developing in the Senate to hold confirmation hearings -- confirmation hearings -- before the election, but delay a final vote until a lame duck session after November 3rd to protect vulnerable Republicans who are up for re-election.
As for the nominee, the early focus in the White House, not settled yet, but the early focus is on two federal appeals court judges, Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana and Barbara Lagoa of Florida.
Karl, what is your sense -- I'm sure you're talking to people at the White House and in the -- the Republican majority in the Senate. What your sense of where this is at?
KARL ROVE, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE ADVISER AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think you outlined it. I think the president is prepared to make a quick nomination. I suspect that the Senate is ready as soon as the FBI does its background check.
One of the things about doing both -- doing either one of these two appellate judges is that they were confirmed by the -- by the Senate in recent years, so the FBI background check will only need to be sort of an update, not a complete, new deep dive. So the process is on its way I suspect to -- in rather rapid fashion.
WALLACE: Do you think the confirmation hearing happen before the election, but the actual vote happens after they hold that for the lame duck?
ROVE: I wouldn't be surprised to see the committee hold hearings and maybe even vote before the election, but I don't expect that with just over 42 days, 44 days, I guess it is, that -- that it will be possible to -- to bring this all the way to the floor before the election.
One more question for Karl. I promise to bring the other two of you in.
In the end, obviously, this comes down to votes. And -- and speaker -- rather, Senate Majority Leader McConnell sent this letter to his GOP colleagues on Friday night, I urge you to keep your powder dry. This is not the time to prematurely lock yourselves into a position you may later regret.
So I guess the question, Karl, is, with Murkowski and Collins already saying that they have real problems doing this before the election, how confident are you that -- that McConnell will have 50 Republican votes, plus the tiebreaker from Pence? And if he -- if he doesn't have the 50 votes, do you think he still goes ahead just to show the base they are keeping faith with them?
ROVE: Yes, I think he's likely to have the 50 votes. In fact, I think he'll have more than 50 votes to take up this matter and to bring the nomination to the floor and, if need be, before the election passes, though I think it will be after the election.
I do want to quickly say, I loved the flip-flop. We had Tom Cotton taking Joe -- Senator Coon's view of several years ago and Senator Coons taking Tom Cotton's view of several years ago. It reminds me of that political scientist and ethicist, Captain Louis Renault, I'm shocked, shocked to find there's gambling going on here. The famous line from Casablanca. I'm shocked there's politics going on here that we have one president at that time, one Senate at the time. They have constitutional powers to nominate. And in the case of the Senate, to either give their advise and consent or withhold their advise and consent. We're seeing it played out in front of us.
WALLACE: No, I -- I agree with you, it's not really about principle ever, it's about power.
Let me bring in Mo.
This, obviously, beyond the question of the court, injects a big, new issue into the presidential race, which is now, as we say, just six weeks away.
Let's take a look at our most recent Fox News poll, which is -- we asked people about this, who do you trust to do a better job on Supreme Court nominees? Fifty-two percent say Biden, 45 percent say Trump. And support for Biden is especially strong among suburban women and seniors.
Mo, I've got to say, I see -- I can see this either way, that conservatives care more about the court, so they'll going to be energized. Joe Biden has an enthusiasm gap and this will fire up Democrats to vote for him.
How do you see this playing out in terms of the presidential race?
MO ELLEITHEE, GEORGETOWN INSTITUTE OF POLITICS AND PUBLIC SERVICE, FORMER DNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR AND FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's -- that's always the conventional wisdom, right, that Republicans and conservatives get more animated by court discussions. And I don't know that that's true anymore. In 2018, right, I mean, a lot of women were -- turned out -- suburban women turned out and helped the house, in part because of the court.
You know, yesterday I took my kids down to the Supreme Court to pay respect and there was a really beautiful tribute down there. You showed images earlier in the show. A lot of the handwritten messages, written in chalk on the sidewalk, were not just honoring her as a trailblazer, but also talking about her fight -- her record of fighting to protect healthcare.
Healthcare voters now have a reason to be more animated. And if Democrats start pushing a message that -- look, you're seeing Republicans in the Senate rush back --
ELLEITHEE: With a sense of urgency on the court that they don't have on Covid relief in order to pack the court -- or stack the court or add a new person to the court in time for the next ACA, Affordable Care Act fight.
WALLACE: All right --
ELLEITHEE: That's a message I wouldn't see -- I would be surprised to see Democrats lean into.
WALLACE: Mo -- rather, Shannon, let me get -- bring you in here now.
Here was President Trump on Friday night talking about what's at stake with a new Supreme Court justice, and this was even before he learned about the tragic death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That will totally change when you talk about life, when you talk about Second Amendment, when you talk about things that are so important to you. You're going to be stuck for 40 years, 35 years, a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Shannon, if the president replaces Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a solid conservative, what's at stake here? And I find it especially interesting, you heard it from Chris Coons, you hear it now from Mo, Democrats not focusing so much on abortion as they are on what it will do to the Affordable Care Act.
SHANNON BREAM, "FOX NEWS AT NIGHT" ANCHOR AND CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and there are other critical cases, of course, already on the fall term, which kicks off in a couple of weeks.
I think this would be a seismic shift for this administration to be able to pull off something like replacing the late Justice Ginsburg with somebody like a Judge Amy Coney Barrett or Judge Barbara Lagoa. It's not, as we've seen with the last couple of nominations and confirmations, replacing a Republican appointee with a Republican appointee. This is replacing what was arguably the loudest, strongest leader of the liberal bloc on the court for the last, you know, couple of decades with somebody who would have completely different philosophical and judicial ideas about the way you interpret the Constitution, the text of laws, just a completely different philosophy. So it would be substantively a massive shift to the court to replace that one seat, in a court that's pretty evenly divided these days on some very, very big issues, Chris.
WALLACE: Yes, I mean, we're not talking now, 4-4 with Roberts as the swing vote, we'd be talking 6-3, so Roberts could do anything he wanted and you'd have six reliably, solidly conservative justices.
Let me -- speaking of Robert, Shannon, is this Chief Justice Roberts' worst nightmare to have the court and the confirmation of another justice injected into the final days of a presidential campaign?
BREAM: Yes, you know that he tries valiantly to make the court apolitical as possible. He doesn't want it ever to be viewed as a group of Democrats or Republicans. He's publicly said there aren't Trump appointees, there aren't Obama judges. There can be appointees but they -- they don't then have a loyalty to a specific party or ideology. Judges are supposed to be neutral. He said umpires calling balls and strikes.
I think that for him there are a number of long-term and short-term issues. And you think about this, if we're at 8-8 going into a very divisive election where we're going to have fights over mail-in ballots and all kinds of other extended deadlines, you don't want a case to end up at the Supreme Court that would decide the presidency with a potentially split down the even tie court, Chris.
WALLACE: We've got about a minute left.
Karl, I just want to ask you a basic question of fairness. Do you worry at all -- I know we talked about principles in power. Do you worry at all that there could be a backlash from undecided voters who just say, it just doesn't seem fair for the president to nominate someone and for the court to go ahead and confirm someone just days before the election?
ROVE: I think that's a legitimate concern. I think a lot of this is going to depend upon how the American people perceive the nominee herself. If they look at it and say, this is an accomplished individual, I'm willing to accept it.
I would remind you that on November 13, 1980, after being defeated for re- election, President Jimmy Carter nominated Stephen Breyer to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, the New England appellate court. And it was approved less than a month later by an 83-10 vote. If he were not appointed to the first circuit with a lame duck appointment, it's unlikely he'd be on the Supreme Court today.
So these things have a way of working out. It all depends on the -- on the nominee.
WALLACE: Of course the -- a circuit court's different than the Supreme Court, but thanks for the history lesson, as always, Karl.
Thank you, panel. See you next Sunday.
Up next, an exclusive interview with Bill Gates on the terrible impact the pandemic has had on his decades-long effort to fight global property and improve public health.
WALLACE: For 20 years, The Gates Foundation has led the fight against poverty and disease in the developing world. Each year they detail the strides they've made, but not in this year of the pandemic.
Earlier, I sat down with Bill Gates to discuss the terrible impact of Covid-19 and to get his assessment of how the U.S. has handled it.
WALLACE: Bill, welcome back.
Each September you release what you call your goalkeeper's report, giving what progress has been achieved on your main goals of fighting poverty and trying to improve public health in developing countries. But the news this year is that there hasn't been progress. Things are worse, not better.
How much worse?
BILL GATES, CO-CHAIR, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: Because of the pandemic, we've had huge setbacks, you know, in some cases erasing literally decades of progress. And so it really underscores that we've got to bring this pandemic to an end, not just in a few rich countries, but the entire world. And then we'll have to take special efforts to build back so we're back on that positive track that we normally, this time of year, are getting to talk about and thank the voters for their generosity with the foreign aid that plays a key role in all that progress.
WALLACE: How has Covid reversed what's been a 20 year streak of progress in places like Africa? For instance, how has Covid caused such a dramatic increase in extreme poverty in developing countries?
GATES: Yes, so the actual death toll in the poorest countries, including most of Africa, is actually not in super high. The population is very young and other than South Africa the -- the numbers have been less than was forecast.
Sadly, though, the fragility of their health system, that, you know, people can't go out and get the vaccines, children are at risk of diarrhea and malaria. And so both the vaccination rates have gone down by over 14 percent, which takes us back in time over two decades, and that extreme poverty, which is another one that had been going down constantly, has gone up. So now you have 37 million people back in extreme poverty. And so the breadth of the negative impacts, mental health, education, economic, and other health things, not just Covid directly, are much greater than I expected before we started to pull the report together.
WALLACE: Now, The Gates Foundation has committed $650 million to fight Covid, which is the biggest contribution by any independent foundation.
Where's that money going and what success have you had?
GATES: We have some very high scaled diagnostic things coming online. But the biggest area has been in the vaccine, where helping seed tomorrow (ph) and demoney (ph) very quickly for the best vaccine approaches and then making sure that when we get a vaccine, it's not just for the rich countries, that we take factories of many companies, including high-volume manufacturers, some of which are in India, bring them in, which is completely novel, and as soon as something's approved, we get going so that the pandemic isn't just constantly coming back to the United States.
So vaccine has been the biggest part. And, of course, we -- we're going to give more. By the time we get this all organized, I'm sure we'll be well over a billion dollars.
WALLACE: You have put a lot of the -- the money into what you call the Covid-19 therapeutics accelerator.
Where do we stand on a vaccine, which, of course, everybody is waiting for? There's a lot of talk about by the -- by the end of this year. Is that realistic?
GATES: The R&D is going at full speed. You know, even the companies that are -- have offered to do it on a breakeven basis, if it wasn't for that donated money, they wouldn't be able to do that. So that -- that's helped a lot.
The place the U.S. has not shown up is in this issue of helping to buy the vaccine or these developing countries. And we're hoping, you know, if there was going to be a supplemental bill, there was a chance the 4 billion for the vaccines would have been in there now. That vehicle doesn't look like it will come to fruition. You know, so maybe the continuing resolution -- you know, we're hoping to get that organized.
I believe that by early next year, you know, of the six leading vaccines, the ones that are furthest along in the west, that probably three or four of those will show efficacy and safety, and that's when the challenge will be, OK, how do you allocate it? The way to answer that challenges is just to get so much volume that you're not having to make really terrible trade- offs.
You know, we show in the report that if you distribute equitably, you have half as many deaths than if you just give to -- only to the rich.
WALLACE: When do you see anything close to a return to normal in the U.S. in what you call the rich world, and when do you see a return to normal around the rest of the globe in developing countries?
GATES: Yes, if the vaccine approvals come by early next year, as I expect, then by next summer the U.S. will be starting to go back to normal and by the end of the year our activities can be fairly normal if we're also helping these other countries.
The end of the epidemic, best case, is probably 2022. But during 2021, the numbers, we should be able to drive them down, if we take the -- the global approach. So, you know, thank goodness vaccine technology was there, that the funding came up, that the companies put their best people on it. That's why I'm optimistic this won't last indefinitely.
WALLACE: You say that ever since you were a teenager, you've tackled a new problem the same way. You ask, who is handling it well and what can you learn from them?
So, direct question, how well has the U.S. handled the coronavirus?
GATES: Well, unfortunately, we did a very poor job, and you can just see that in the numbers if you compare the Asian countries, like South Korea and Australia. You know, the key was the -- getting the testing going. You know, what happened was that 40,000 people came out of China because we didn't ban the residents and citizens from coming in. So we created this rush and we didn't have the ability to test or quarantine those people. And so that seeded the disease here.
You know, the ban probably accelerated that the way it was executed. And we -- we just didn't go to the commercial providers and get the tests ready. The FDA made it harder. And so we're -- even today people don't get their results in 24 hours, which it's outrageous that we still have that.
WALLACE: I just want to pick up on that. You're saying that the travel bans made the situation worse, not better?
GATES: Yes, so when you have people realize that the flights are going to start to get canceled and if they don't the citizens and residents, if they don't come back right away, you get a rush. And that's where you really need to do like South Korea and Australia did, where you take those people and you test them. And if you can't test them, you put them in quarantine. If they test positive, you put them in quarantine.
We didn't do that. We didn't have any community testing. We didn't have the scale of testing, which would have required the commercial providers. And so that meant that March saw this incredible explosion, the West Coast coming from China, and then the East Coast coming out of Europe. And so even though we'd seen China and we'd seen Europe, that testing capacity and clear message of how to behave wasn't there. And that's, you know, led to us having not just a bad spring. We've had a pretty tough summer. And, sadly, because of the seasonality, until we get these new tools, the fall is looking to shape up as pretty tough as well.
I do think, you know, we need to own up to the fact that we didn't do a good job. You know, part of the reluctance I think to fix the testing system now is that nobody wants to admit that it's still outrageous that the access to the tests, depending on the more wealthy get access, and you have these delays where you're not seeing the answer within 24 hours, which you just -- that -- that should not be the case.
The U.S. has more of these machines, more of this capacity than other countries by a huge amount. And so partly the reimbursement system is creating perverse incentive.
But, you know, looking back, you know, my main focus now is, let's get the tools right and let's get the testing right now. You know, we will have time to look at those mistakes, which in February and March were really super unfortunate. But, you know, we can't pretend like we're -- we're -- we get a good grade even today.
WALLACE: Finally, I want to end where we started. You -- you talk about the fact that, as a result of Covid, the efforts that you make, that other people make in the developing world and that you've -- you've been involved in for decades to fight malaria and polio and HIV and poverty have been set back for years, that you've lost years of progress that you had so painstakingly made.
How long is it going to take for the developing world to get back to where they were just at the start of 2020? And, on a personal level, how frustrating is that for you?
GATES: Well, I -- I'm always optimistic. You know, we will get back on track and we'll get on those positive trends. But a good example is polio. You know, polio, which rotary has been behind that eradication from the beginning, and, before the pandemic, you know, we're down to these two countries. It's been just this huge setback. And, you know, the partners in this that include CDC, WHO, figuring out, are we going to be able to work together and stay committed against this eradication, I'd say there's a lot of uncertainty about that.
I want to redouble our efforts. And even though it will get delayed, get polio done. So, yes, it's -- it's a little frustrating. The pandemic, if it -- that hadn't come, we'd be so much further along.
We did get Africa declared free of wild (ph) polio. So, you know, there's a little bit of progress. But, you know, with -- if we pay attention to the poor countries, which, you know, we're a little self-centered right now, but if we do, I think that eradication will really energize people and energize all this global health work.
WALLACE: Bill Gates, it's always a pleasure to talk with you. Thanks so much. Hopefully next time better news to discuss.
GATES: Great. Thanks, Chris.
WALLACE: Sadly, the Gates family lost its patriarch this week. Bill Gates Sr. passed away at age 94. A prominent lawyer and philanthropist, he launched The Gates Foundation's work in global health and served as co- chair until his death. His son, Bill Jr., credited his father with much of his own success, saying he was everything I try to be. I will miss him every day.
And we'll be back with a final word.
WALLACE: Please keep it here on your local Fox station and Fox News Channel for coverage of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the push to name her replacement.
And now this program note, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" will come to you from Cleveland next week as part of Fox News' coverage of the first presidential debate.
And that's it for today. Have a great week and we'll see you next FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
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