clearn.png
Tuesday October 20th, 2020 4:57AM

GOP senators confront past comments on Supreme Court vote

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican senators weighing what to do about the vacancy on the Supreme Court are facing questions about their own past comments amid complaints by Democrats that their views have shifted with changing political reality.

President Donald Trump on Saturday urged the GOP-run Senate to consider “without delay” his upcoming nomination to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday. The move comes just six weeks before the election.

A look at what key Republican senators were saying in the past — and what they are saying now — about filling a seat on the Supreme Court during an election year.

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL

McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, vowed in a statement Friday night, hours after Ginsburg’s death, to call a floor vote on Trump's nominee, although he did not specify a date. McConnell, who sets the calendar in the Senate, has made judicial appointments a top priority.

McConnell's statement on the latest vacancy stands in stark contrast to the position he took in 2016, when he refused to consider President Barack Obama’s choice for the high court months ahead of the election. McConnell blocked hearings for Merrick Garland, a federal appeals court judge, saying the choice should be left to voters in an election year.

Democrats said Republicans should follow the precedent they set in 2016 by not considering a Supreme Court choice in the run-up to an election, but McConnell's comments make it clear he has no intention of doing so.

"Americans re-elected 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,'' McConnell said.

SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN LINDSEY GRAHAM

Graham, who will oversee the vetting of the nomination as Judiciary chairman, tweeted Saturday that he will support Trump "in any effort to move forward regarding the recent vacancy created by the passing of Justice Ginsburg.”

Graham's comment contradicts his statements in 2018 and 2016 that a Supreme Court nominee should not be considered in an election year.

"If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term, and the primary process has started, we’ll wait to the next election,'' Graham said in 2018 at an event hosted by The Atlantic magazine. Reminded that he was speaking on the record, Graham said: “Yeah. Hold the tape.″

Two years earlier, in the midst of the Garland battle, the South Carolina senator was even more emphatic, urging listeners at a Judiciary Committee meeting to “use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president (elected) in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’”

Despite those comments, Graham said Saturday that he supports moving forward on a new nomination because Democrats had changed the Senate rules to confirm more circuit court judges during Obama’s tenure, and because Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer "and his friends in the liberal media conspired to destroy the life of Brett Kavanaugh and hold that Supreme Court seat open.”

Kavananugh was narrowly confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2018 after a bitter, partisan fight in which Graham played a key role to advance Kavanaugh.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS

Collins, a Maine Republican who is considered a moderate, said Saturday that “in fairness to the American people,” the Senate should not vote on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court until after the election and that the nomination "should be made by the president who is elected on November 3rd.”

Collins voted in favor of Kavanaugh in 2018 — a vote that has played a key role in her reelection campaign. Liberal groups have targeted Collins over her support for Kavanaugh, and she trails her Democratic opponent in publicly released opinion polls. Her statement seems to leave open the possibility of supporting Trump's nominee in the “lame duck” session after the election if Trump wins a second term.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY

Grassley, an Iowa Republican, drew condemnation from Democrats in 2016 when, as Judiciary chairman, he blocked confirmation hearings for Garland, who was nominated to the high court after Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly in February 2016.

At the time, Grassley cited “the Biden Rule” in holding up the process. The informal “rule” — never adopted by the Senate in any formal sense — stemmed from a speech given by then-Sen. Joe Biden in 1992 that the Senate should not fill a Supreme Court vacancy until after the presidential election. Biden, who served as Obama's vice president, is now the Democratic nominee for president.

More recently, Grassley told reporters in July that if he still chaired Judiciary and a vacancy occurred, "I would not have a hearing on it because that’s what I promised the people in 2016.”

Grassley issued a statement Friday night praising Ginsburg but did not comment on whether Trump should move forward with a replacement.

SEN. JONI ERNST

Ernst, an Iowa Republican up for reelection this year, serves on the Judiciary panel. She said in July that in the event of a Supreme Court vacancy, the Senate should hold hearings on Trump’s nominee, even if he loses the presidential election in November.

Ernst’s campaign sent out a fundraising email Friday night saying: "Our Conservative values and Constitutional rights are now on the line. The next Supreme Court nominee will shape major decisions for decades to come.”

Ernst issued a statement later Friday saying the email “never should have gone out.”

“Though I never saw it, it was sent out under my name and I take responsibility for it,” Ernst said. “Tonight, my prayers are with the family of Justice Ginsburg.”

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI

Murkowski, an Alaska Republican who opposed Kavanaugh's confirmation, said in an interview hours before Ginsburg's death that she “would not vote to confirm” her replacement before the next president is inaugurated.

Her comments to Alaska Public Radio on Friday also occurred before McConnell said the Senate will vote on Trump's nominee to replace Ginsburg. Murkowski’s comment appeared to put her at odds with McConnell, who will need at least 50 votes to push a Trump nominee through the Senate, plus a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence.

Murkowski, like Collins, issued a statement after Ginsburg’s death that praised her but did not mention whether she’d favor voting on a Trump pick to replace her.

SEN. THOM TILLIS

Tillis, a North Carolina Republican who serves on the Judiciary panel, was among several GOP senators in tough reelection battles to join Trump in calling for a swift vote on a Supreme Court nominee. Arizona Sen. Martha McSally and Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler — both appointed to their seats — also called for a quick vote.

"There is a clear choice on the future of the Supreme Court between the well-qualified and conservative jurist President Trump will nominate and I will support, and the liberal activist Joe Biden will nominate and Cal Cunningham will support, who will legislate radical, left-wing policies from the bench,” Tillis said on Twitter, referring to his Democratic opponent, former state Sen. Cal Cunningham.

In 2016, Tillis opposed giving Merrick Garland a hearing, saying “the voice of the American people should be weighted heavily” in filling a Supreme Court vacancy, adding that the nomination "would be best left to the next president.''

SEN. MITT ROMNEY

Romney, a Utah Republican who was the sole GOP senator to vote in favor of Trump's impeachment, issued a statement Friday praising Ginsburg, but did not comment on whether he would support a vote on Trump's nominee.

His spokeswoman called a report that Romney would insist on delaying the vote until after Inauguration Day “grossly false.” Romney has never faced a vote on a Supreme Court nominee as a senator.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Elections - Political Conventions
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tropical Storm Beta spurs hurricane worries for Texas
Amid an exceptionally busy Atlantic hurricane season, the Texas coast is preparing for a tropical storm that could strengthen into a hurricane before breaching its shores in the days ahead
5:35PM ( 17 minutes ago )
GOP senators confront past comments on Supreme Court vote
Republican senators face questions about their own past comments as they weigh what to do about the vacancy on the Supreme Court
5:22PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Detroit Tigers manager Gardenhire announces retirement
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced his retirement prior to Detroit’s game against the Cleveland Indians
5:21PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump to Senate: Vote 'without delay' on his high court pick
President Donald Trump is urging the Republican-run Senate to consider “without delay” his upcoming nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just six weeks before the election
4:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
'We (Heart) You RBG': NY celebrates Ginsburg, homegrown icon
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life is being celebrated in her native New York City with plans for a statue, landmarks lit in blue and impromptu memorials at her childhood home in Brooklyn and the high school she attended
4:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
Virus measures targeted by protesters despite case spikes
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square while protesters in Tel Aviv waved signs on beaches as Israel entered a new lockdown Saturday
4:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
'I will dearly miss my friend,' Justice Thomas says of RBG
The remaining eight Supreme Court Justices are speaking out about their colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at age 87
2:42PM ( 3 hours ago )
Police: 2 dead, 14 wounded at party in Rochester, New York
Police in Rochester, New York, say two people died and 14 others were wounded by gunfire at a backyard party early Saturday
2:35PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Italy records more than 1,600 new virus cases
The Italian health ministry reported another 1,638 new cases of coronavirus and 24 deaths
1:34PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online National News
McConnell's legacy: Wielding majority power to reshape court
It’s legacy time for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
1:43PM ( 4 hours ago )
Trump, Biden absorb news of Ginsburg death on the fly
Minutes into yet another Donald Trump campaign rally, this one in Minnesota, the world got word that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died
11:54AM ( 5 hours ago )
Flowers, homemade signs by high court in Ginsburg tribute
Mourners have dropped off bouquets and gathered outside the Supreme Court early Saturday in quiet tribute to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
10:18AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Stopgap bill to prevent shutdown held up over farm funding
Efforts to fashion a temporary spending bill needed to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month have run aground amid a fight over farm bailout funding that’s a key priority of President Donald Trump and Capitol Hill Republicans
1:29AM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Trump orders flags at half-staff for Ginsburg
President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation directing that flags at the White House and all public buildings and grounds and military facilities be flown at half-staff until the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is interred
1:23AM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Obama says GOP must be consistent on court vote
Former President Barack Obama is calling Ruth Bader Ginsburg “a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist” who “inspired generations, from the tiniest trick-or-treaters to law students burning the midnight oil to the most powerful leaders in the land.”
12:06AM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
The Latest: Cruz urges Trump to nominate RBG successor soon
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz says President Donald Trump should nominate a successor to the late liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg next week
10:02PM ( 19 hours ago )
After Ginsburg: McConnell pledges quick vote on successor
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday has cast an immediate spotlight on the vacancy on the high court, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing to bring President Donald Trump’s nominee to a vote with just over six weeks before the election
9:47PM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: GOP Sen. McSally wants vote on Trump court pick
Endangered GOP Sen. Martha McSally of Arizona says the Senate should vote on whomever President Donald Trump nominates to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
9:46PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Thai protesters' rally pushes demands for democratic reforms
Thousands of demonstrators have defied police warnings and occupied a historic field in Thailand’s capital to support the demands of a student-led protest movement for new elections and reform of the monarchy
3:08PM ( 2 hours ago )
Rights group: More than 200 women detained at Minsk protest
Police in the capital of Belarus have cracked down sharply on a women's protest march demanding the authoritarian president's resignation
1:33PM ( 4 hours ago )
Q&A: What does banning TikTok and WeChat mean for users?
The U.S. government is cracking down on the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat, starting by barring them from app stores on Sunday
10:45AM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Elections
AP Exclusive: Pandemic shrinking Europe's monitor of US vote
The coronavirus pandemic has led Europe’s largest security organization to drastically scale back plans to send as many as 500 observers to the U.S. to monitor the Nov. 3 presidential election
3:31PM ( 1 day ago )
Assange lawyer says Trump offered deal to avoid extradition
A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has told a London court that her client was indirectly offered a “win-win” deal by President Donald Trump that would see him avoid extradition to the U.S. if he revealed the source of a leak of documents from the Democratic Party ahead of the 2016 election
2:07PM ( 1 day ago )
Ohio limit of 1 ballot drop box per county blocked, appealed
An Ohio judge has temporarily blocked the Republican secretary of state’s order limiting counties to one ballot drop box
2:03PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
After showdown, UN rights body OKs more scrutiny of Belarus
The U.N.’s top human rights body passed a resolution backed by the European Union seeking quick and enhanced scrutiny of alleged violations in Belarus by authorities under President Alexander Lukashenko, after brushing off efforts to squelch speakers and water down the text
11:11AM ( 1 day ago )
Belarus borders remain open despite leader's closure threat
Belarus’ borders with Poland and Lithuania remain open despite the nation’s president declaring they would be closed and accusing the neighboring nations of instigating weeks of protests against his 26 years of authoritarian leadership
11:02AM ( 1 day ago )
Belarus, backers seek to block speeches at UN rights body
A representative of Belarus, backed by Russia, China and Venezuela, has tried and failed to limit speeches as the U.N.‘s top human rights body holds an urgent debate on alleged rights violations by Belarusian authorities under President Alexander Lukashenko
10:02AM ( 1 day ago )
General Presidential Election News
The Latest: Biden holding drive-in town hall in Pennsylvania
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is returning to Pennsylvania for a socially distanced town hall near his birthplace of Scranton
5:47PM ( 2 days ago )
Biden will appear at drive-in town hall near hometown
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is returning to Pennsylvania on Thursday night for a socially distanced town hall near Scranton, where he was born
5:39PM ( 2 days ago )
Comey to testify before Senate panel weeks before election
Former FBI Director James Comey is set to again testify before Congress
1:54PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Tropical Storm Beta spurs hurricane worries for Texas
Amid an exceptionally busy Atlantic hurricane season, the Texas coast is preparing for a tropical storm that could strengthen into a hurricane before breaching its shores in the days ahead
5:35PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Detroit Tigers manager Gardenhire announces retirement
Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced his retirement prior to Detroit’s game against the Cleveland Indians
5:21PM ( 32 minutes ago )
The Latest: Lee withdraws from U.S. Open with wrist injury
Danny Lee has withdrawn from the U.S. Open after the third round due to a wrist injury
5:18PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Deadly party shooting adds new layer to Rochester's grief
The city of Rochester, New York, is dealing with more trauma after a shooting at a backyard party killed two people and injured 14 others
5:16PM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: French economy minister among 13K new infections
Coronavirus infections tipped the scales again in France on Saturday with nearly 13,500 new infections in 24 hours
5:10PM ( 43 minutes ago )