WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday said the Senate will vote on President Donald Trump's pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, even though it's an election year.
The Republican Senate leader issued a statement Friday night, about an hour and a half after the Supreme Court announced the liberal justice's death from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer.
When conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, also an election year, McConnell refused to act on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to fill the opening. The seat remained vacant until after Trump’s surprising presidential victory.
Trump ended up nominating Neil Gorsuch, who was confirmed to the court.
The 2020 election is 46 days away.
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McConnell had earlier said he would move to confirm a Trump nominee if there were a vacancy this year.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has opposed the vote and said Congress should wait until "we have a new president."
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said told WCBS 880, "This close to the election, there is no way that the United States Senate should, or can, act before the voters decide in November."
When asked what it would mean for the country if Trump were to get a third Supreme Court Justice on the court Blumenthal said, "If the president of the United States again fills a vacancy with a far right, hard right, fringe justice who is against reproductive rights, who is in favor of constricting values we hold dear, will change the court forever, at least in our lifetime."
Meanwhile, House Speaker Pelosi simply said Ginsburg replacement should have "commitment to equality, opportunity and justice for all."
According to NPR, just days before her death in 2020, she dictated a statement to her granddaughter: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."