WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Just one hour after news of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote on President Trump’s Supreme Court, even though its an election year.
Ginsburg’s death could dramatically alter the ideological balance of the court, which currently has a 5-4 conservative majority, by moving it further to the right.
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 presidential victory.
NPR reported that Ginsburg said in a statement dictated to granddaughter Clara Spera, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”
In a statement paying tribute to Ginsburg, McConnell concluded with the following:
“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 appointment 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.Mitch Mcconnell
A confirmation vote in the Senate is not guaranteed, even with a Republican majority.
Typically it takes several months to vet and hold hearings on a Supreme Court nominee, and time is short ahead of the election.
Key senators may be reluctant to cast votes so close to the election. With a slim GOP majority, 53 seats in the 100-member chamber, Trump’s choice could afford to lose only a few.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says the winner of the November election should pick a successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Calling Ginsburg a “beloved figure,” Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware: “There is no doubt — let me be clear — that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider.”.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer said that the vote for a new justice should be postponed.
California Representative Maxine Waters said the future of the Supreme Court was on the line.
President Trump took the stage for a Minnesota rally not long before Ginsburg’s death was announced. He spoke for more than 90 minutes, never mentioning it, apparently not alerted to the development. He spoke to reporters about her passing as he boarded Air Force One to return to Washington.
In brief remarks, Trump called Ginsburg “an amazing woman,” adding that “she led an amazing life.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.