McConnell: Senate Will Vote On Trump’s Pick To Replace Justice Ginsburg

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-KY) speaks during a news conference to announce that the Senate is considering police reform legislation, at the US Capitol on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Pho... Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell(R-KY) speaks during a news conference to announce that the Senate is considering police reform legislation, at the US Capitol on June 17, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 18, 2020 8:56 p.m.

Securing conservative control of the Supreme Court for the next generation is now in reach for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell announced Friday that he will move forward with trying to confirm President Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday evening.

“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said.

How McConnell handled the surprise 2016 death of Justice Antonin Scalia is a defining moment of his legacy in Republican politics. If he succeeds at putting the nominee that Trump selects to replace Ginsburg, it will be a monumental coda.
Even before McConnell officially announced his intentions, Democrats were already beginning to cry foul given McConnell’s position in the 2016 election, in which he claimed that vacancies that occurred once a presidential campaign was underway should be filled by the President who won that election.

Unlike Scalia’s passing, which was completely unexpected, the health issues that have plagued Ginsburg in recent years have allowed Republicans to lay the groundwork for jamming through her replacement, even if in just the weeks before or after the 2020 election.

McConnell has not exactly hidden the fact that he did not believe that the position he took in 2016 — when he claimed that vacancies that occurred once a presidential campaign was underway should be filled by the President who won that election — would not constrain him from confirming a Trump nominee this time around.

In his statement Friday, laid out the logic justifying a move that he had already indicated he would likely take, when, in the months before Ginsburg’s death, questions about the possibility of another pre-election vacancy were coming. V
In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term,” McConnell said. “We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”

This time, he argued, “Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.”

To confirm a Trump nominee before next year’s inauguration, McConnell cannot lose the support of more than three Republican senators. Coincidentally, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said earlier Friday, before news of the Ginsburg’s death broke, that she would not support moving forward with a confirmation before the inauguration.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has also expressed discomfort with seating a justice in October or directly after the election.

Murkowksi’s later statement on Ginsburg’s passing made no reference to how the senator, who us up for reelection in 2022, would handle the coming confirmation fight. Collins also did not address the issue in the statement she released after Ginsburg’s death.

It is not yet clear which other Republican senators could be willing to break with McConnell and Trump on confirming the yet-to-be-named nominee.

To the President’s and McConnell’s advantage is the incredible war chest that will be deployed to encourage Republicans to hold the line on pushing Ginsburg’s replacement through.

Read the full statement here:

The Senate and the nation mourn the sudden passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the conclusion of her extraordinary American life.

Justice Ginsburg overcame one personal challenge and professional barrier after another. She climbed from a modest Brooklyn upbringing to a seat on our nation’s highest court and into the pages of American history. Justice Ginsburg was thoroughly dedicated to the legal profession and to her 27 years of service on the Supreme Court. Her intelligence and determination earned her respect and admiration throughout the legal world, and indeed throughout the entire nation, which now grieves alongside her family, friends, and colleagues.

***

In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death in 2016, Americans elected a Republican Senate majority because we pledged to check and balance the last days of a lame-duck president’s second term. We kept our promise. Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.

By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary. Once again, we will keep our promise.

President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.

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