Former Republican Senator Jeff Flake (AZ), the man who nearly derailed Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, has joined Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in the call for Republicans to withhold voting on a SCOTUS nominee until after the election.
In a tweet on Saturday, the former senator from Arizona said that Republicans should hold themselves to the same standard that they set in 2016, neglecting the fact that they had no obligation to approve Obama’s appointee.
“In 2016, nine months before an election, we Republicans said that the next president should fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Today, six weeks before an election, we should hold the same position. Preserving the institution of the Senate should be paramount to any political gain,” he tweeted.
In 2016, nine months before an election, we Republicans said that the next president should fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Today, six weeks before an election, we should hold the same position. Preserving the institution of the Senate should be paramount to any political gain.
— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) September 19, 2020
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already said that the GOP stands ready to approve President Trump’s nominee before the election, arguing that the 2016 standard does not apply to 2020, given the circumstances.
“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,” McConnell said on Friday shortly after honoring late-Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life.
“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 promises,” he continued. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”
President Trump concurred that he will be selecting a SCOTUS nominee next week, and that it will be a woman.
“It will be a woman, a very talented, very brilliant woman,” the president said on Sunday. “I haven’t chosen yet, but we have numerous women on the list.”
Regardless of who the president chooses, at least two Republican senators have asked that the vote be withheld until after the November election.
“For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to the election,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said in a statement. “Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed.”
“I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice [Antonin] Scalia,” she added. “We are now even closer to the 2020 election, less than two months out, and I believe the same standard must apply.”
Likewise, Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who cast the deciding vote for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, said that she would like to see the vote delayed.