On Thursday night, Reuters reports, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke about the current battle in the Senate over filling the vacancy left by Justice Antonin Scalia, who passed away in February of this year. Senate Democrats have favored a hearing for President Obama’s nominee, appeals court judge Merrick Garland. However, many Senate Republicans, fearing a Democratic majority in the Supreme Court, have insisted that Scalia’s spot remain open until a new president is elected.
Reuters points out that Obama’s nomination has been pending for a record-setting 175 days.
Speaking at the Georgetown Law Center, Ginsburg said regarding the Senate decision that she thinks “cooler heads will prevail.” She added that she hopes they prevail “sooner rather than later.”
Ginsburg’s comments came in response to a question from an audience member about whether there are any “valid constitutional arguments” that would prevent President Obama from filling Scalia’s seat.
The 83-year-old liberal justice, who was appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993, also acknowledged the fact that the Senate does not have to confirm Garland. However, she said that they do have to at least consider him, instead of refusing to take action.
Ginsburg, who has proven time and time again that she is not afraid to speak her mind, was firm when she reminded Senate Republicans that Barack Obama is still president, even though this is his last year in office. “The president is elected for four years, not three years,” she said. “Maybe some members of the Senate will wake up and appreciate that that’s how it should be.”
Some Senate Republicans have softened their position slightly on Garland’s nomination in the last few months. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah have both said that Garland should get a lame duck hearing if Clinton wins the presidency, and Sen. Charles Grassley said that he would be open to a hearing if the majority of the Senate changed their minds. Despite some members’ willingness to be flexible, though, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to budge on the issue.