Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said Wednesday that he would not hold up President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat as leverage in his push to get a vote on the President’s tariffs.
“There are lots of folks out there who assume because I’ve not been in line with lots of the President’s policies, and certainly haven’t condoned his behavior, that I should oppose everything, every one of the President’s nominees or whatever,” Flake told the Arizona Republic. “I’ve never taken that position.”
“I certainly wasn’t anticipating a Supreme Court vacancy, but it’s unaffected,” he added.
Flake’s recent actions on the Senate Judiciary Committee started attracting attention a week ago, when a committee vote on appeals court nominee Britt Grantt was cancelled because Flake had withheld his vote for the second week in a row. The retiring Arizona senator later confirmed that he was trying to put pressure on his fellow Republicans to rein in Trump’s tariffs on allies, including Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
“Congress ought to stand up and say ‘No, we’re not going to do that. You can’t use Section 232 to claim that Canada is a national security threat,’” Flake said Sunday. “That’s not who we are.”
“My goal has been to force a vote on tariffs,” he emphasized to the Arizona Republic.
“I just think it’s unconscionable for Congress not to speak on this, so a couple of weeks ago I let the chairman on the Judiciary Committee know that I would vote ‘No’ on circuit court nominees until I was assured of some kind of vote coming up.”
The Judiciary Committee skipped a vote on Grantt for the third week in a row Thursday, as well as a vote on Third Circuit Court of Appeals nominee David Porter, BuzzFeed News’ Zoe Tillman reported.