While President Donald Trump prepares for a campaign rally in North Carolina on Saturday, Republican Thom Tillis, a junior senator for the state, is making his position clear that he believes the President is justified in nominating a successor for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died Friday ahead of the election.
Tillis, who faces a challenge from attorney and Democrat Cal Cunningham in November, tried to justify President Trump’s effort to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg’s seat before the election by saying that voters in his state would “ultimately render their judgment” about a second-term for Trump at least in part based on how the President chooses to fill the court’s vacancy.
“President Trump is again facing voters at the ballot box and North Carolinians will ultimately render their judgment on his presidency and how he chooses to fill the vacancy,” Tillis said in a statement Saturday.
“There is a clear choice on the future of the Supreme Court between the well-qualified and conservative jurist President Trump will nominate and I will support, and the liberal activist Joe Biden will nominate and Cal Cunningham will support, who will legislate radical, left-wing policies from the bench,” he added.
But voting is already underway in battleground North Carolina, and with some early ballots cast and Election Day less than seven weeks away, some Democratic lawmakers are contesting that a Trump nominee to the court would be inconsistent with the stance taken by many Republicans in 2016 when the late Justice Antonin Scalia died nine months before the presidential election.
That was the same argument made by leading Republicans and shared by Tillis in 2016.
“The campaign is already underway. It is essential to the institution of the Senate and to the very health of our republic to not launch our nation into a partisan, divisive confirmation battle during the very same time the American people are casting their ballots to elect our next president,” Tillis said during a Senate floor speech at the time.
Top Republicans, including Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who are now in a race to quickly fill Ginsburg’s seat had fiercely opposed former President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the bench.
“The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said at the time in refusal of a hearing. “Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”