NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – President Donald Trump signaled Saturday that he was moving ahead with nominating a new Supreme Court justice, who he said would "most likely" be a woman, as Republican Sen. Susan Collins said the Senate should wait until after the 2020 Election to vote on a nominee.
Collins, who is in a tough reelection battle in Maine, released a statement in which she said she believed replacing Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be the decision of the president who is elected Nov. 3.
“In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently — no matter which political party is in power,” Collins said. “President Trump has the constitutional authority to make a nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, and I would have no objection to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s beginning the process of reviewing his nominee’s credentials.”
“Given the proximity of the presidential election, however, I do not believe that the Senate should vote on the nominee prior to the election. In fairness to the American people, who will either be reelecting the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.”
Three more defections from the GOP ranks would be needed to stop President Donald Trump’s nominee from joining the court.
Trump on Saturday urged the Republican-run Senate to consider “without delay” his upcoming nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Ginsburg just six weeks before the election.
“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!” the president tweeted.
A close ally, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would hold hearings on a nominee, tweeted that he backed Trump “in any effort to move forward” and fill the vacancy.
And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed on Friday night, hours after Ginsburg’s death, to call a vote for Trump's upcoming nominee.
Democrats countered that Republicans should follow the precedent that GOP legislators set in 2016 by refusing to consider a Supreme Court choice in the run-up to an election.