On Friday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away after a battle with cancer, and a political firestorm quickly erupted over her vacant seat on the nation’s highest court. Despite the precedent that Senate Republicans themselves set in 2016 when they refused to hold a vote on then-President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Donald Trump himself have already signaled their readiness to speed through a replacement for Ginsburg. On Saturday, Maine’s Republican Susan Collins, who’s in a tough re-election race with Democratic challenger Sara Gideon, announced that she thought the process for replacing Ginsburg on the court should be put mostly on hold until after the election.
BREAKING. Susan Collins: "In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 19, 2020
‘In order for the American people to have faith in their elected officials, we must act fairly and consistently — no matter which political party is in power… Given the proximity of the presidential election… I do not believe the Senate should vote on the nominee until after the election. In fairness to the American people, who will either be re-electing the President or selecting a new one, the decision on a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court should be made by the President who is elected on November 3rd.’
Check out her full statement below:
My statement on the Supreme Court vacancy: pic.twitter.com/jvYyDN5gG4
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 19, 2020
In a message to Republican Senators after Ginsburg’s passing, McConnell admonished them to hold off on making any conclusive public statements for the time being. Collins seems to be the first GOP Senator to actually conclusively state, within the context of the current situation, that she does not believe that a confirmation of a replacement for Ginsburg should not go forward prior to the upcoming election.
This letter, per source, went to GOP senators tonight. The message: Don’t lock yourself into a position and “keep your powder dry.” Last thing McConnell wants is too many senators saying they should hit the brakes or allow the winner of the November elections choose the nominee https://t.co/85MSqmvy82
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) September 19, 2020
“Moderate” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) stated in an interview shortly before Ginsburg’s death was revealed that she did not support moving forward with a Supreme Court confirmation this year — but that was before the scenario became non-theoretical. (UPDATE: Murkowski has now reiterated that she still holds the same position — no pre-election confirmation.) Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who was the only Republican Senator to vote to convict Trump of either of the charges against him at his impeachment trial, would be another Senator to watch.
Check out Twitter’s response to Collins below: