GOP Governors Rebuff Trump Over Rushed RBG Replacement

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Two Republican governors have now publicly broken with the main party line on the replacement of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away on Friday. Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Donald Trump have already publicly pushed the idea of rushing the confirmation of a replacement for Ginsburg, two Republican governors — including Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and Phil Scott of Vermont — have publicly insisted that the nomination of a Ginsburg replacement should wait until after the election.

Scott spoke out first. He said:

‘History will remember, and our children should learn about, Justice Ginsburg. She was a tireless advocate for justice and equality, and an example for future generations… While it is important to take the time to mourn her passing, we must also follow precedent, as well as her dying wishes, and delay the appointment process until after Inauguration Day.’

As he references, Ginsburg told her granddaughter in the time shortly before her death that she wished for her seat to only be filled after the next presidential election. If Trump rushes through a replacement and then loses the election, it could be an even more profound betrayal of democracy than Trump’s behavior might already be.

On Saturday, Baker spoke out. He said:

‘The passing of Justice Ginsburg is not only a loss for the court but for the entire nation, and I urge President Trump and the U.S. Senate to allow the American people to cast their ballots for President before a new justice is nominated or confirmed. The Supreme Court is too important to rush and must be removed from partisan political infighting.’

Waiting until after the election would follow the precedent set by Senate Republicans themselves when they refused to confirm then-President Barack Obama’s replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016. McConnell says that the “principle” — which he essentially made up — was that Supreme Court vacancies should not be filled in presidential Election Years if the White House and Senate are controlled by two different parties. Now that Trump is in the White House, having skirted to a victory despite losing by millions in the national popular vote, McConnell takes current circumstances as an apparent green light to move full speed ahead, despite the fact that Trump’s legitimacy seems significantly more tenuous than Obama’s was in early 2016.