The Republican-controlled US Senate will vote on a potential successor to the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg if President Trump nominates someone, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday night.
“President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement responding to Ginsburg’s death at 87.
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.
McConnell had earlier said he would move to confirm a Trump nominee if there were a vacancy this year.
In his Friday night statement, McConnell contrasted the situation presented by Ginsburg’s death to that which followed Scalia’s.
“In the last midterm election before Justice Scalia’s death, 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,” he said.
“Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.”
McConnell added: “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.”
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