Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Tuesday that a potential dispute of election results is why the Senate should move quickly to confirm Trump nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
“The entire reason the Senate should act and should act promptly to confirm a ninth justice is so that the Supreme Court can resolve any cases that arise in the wake of the election,” Cruz told reporters.
Earlier on Tuesday, Cruz told NPR that a Supreme Court as it stands with a seat left vacant by the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg “lacks the constitutional authority to decide anything,” Cruz said. “And so we could have multiple conflicting opinions from multiple courts of appeals and weeks or months of chaos and uncertainty.”
Cruz told NPR’s Steve Inskeep that he thinks Barrett — the ideological heir of the late Justice Antonin Scalia and former Trump pick who was confirmed to the U.S. District’s 7th Circuit — would be a “strong justice.”
The comments come after some Democrats, including Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) have said that while they were open to meeting with Barrett as she met with GOP senators during an appearance on Capitol Hill on Tuesday that it was important from Barrett to recuse herself from rendering any judgment related to upcoming election results.
“If she does not recuse herself, I fear that the court will be further delegitimized,” Booker, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) made a likeminded suggestion before Trump had formally announced Barrett, similarly telling NPR Thursday that given the “arguable ethical complication” of a justice confirmed so close to the election, Trump’s nominee “should recuse herself” from weighing in on election issues.
The concerns raised by Democratic leaders follow President Trump’s remarks last week during a White House briefing, telling reporters when asked, that he may not be committed to a peaceful transfer of power if he faces electoral defeat in November.
“I think this [the election] will end up in the Supreme Court, and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices,” Trump said on Wednesday.
The President appeared to double down on that message during a campaign rally Friday. He told crowds in Newport News, Virginia, that while he wanted “a smooth, beautiful transition,” he would only relent if the results were borne of a “honest vote,” adding amid an ongoing effort to delegitimize mail-in voting that the election which is just weeks away is a “disaster waiting to happen.”
He said that the effort by Republicans to jam through a confirmation put at risk the health care of roughly 23 million Americans who are insured under provisions of the Affordable Care Act– an Obama-era policy that faces its latest challenge before the high court in November — just a week after the presidential election and shortly after Barrett is confirmed if all goes as planned.