“Oh, we’d fill it,” McConnell said with a smile when asked last year if he would fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before the election. “If you’re asking me a hypothetical we would fill it,” McConnell added in February.
But now with serious health questions surrounding the health of Ruth Bader Ginsburg the concept of replacing RBG is not out of the question what do some GOP Senators do?
Get wobbly in typical fashion. “When Republicans held off Merrick Garland it was because nine months prior to the election was too close, we needed to let people decide. And I agreed to do that. If we now say that months prior to the election is OK when nine months was not, that is a double standard and I don’t believe we should do it,” Lisa Murkowski said sending shock waves through the GOP. “So I would not support it,” she added and she is not the only one – Chuck Grassley and others expressed some doubt about filling an open seat.
From The Hill:
But not all Republicans are committed to the idea after McConnell and then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) blocked Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to replace Scalia, from even getting a hearing.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says that confirming a Trump nominee to the high court in the middle of an election year or during the lame-duck session in November and December would create a “double standard” after what happened in 2016.
“When Republicans held off Merrick Garland it was because nine months prior to the election was too close, we needed to let people decide. And I agreed to do that. If we now say that months prior to the election is OK when nine months was not, that is a double standard and I don’t believe we should do it,” she said. “So I would not support it.”
Scalia died in mid-February of 2016 and Obama nominated Garland, who was thought to have bipartisan support, on March 16, 2016.
Several Senate Republicans voted to confirm Garland to the D.C. federal appeals court in 1997, including Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), James Inhofe (Okla.) and Pat Roberts (Kan.), as well as former Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (Utah) and the late Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).
Any effort to fill a vacancy in the few months before Election Day or in a lame-duck session should Trump lose would be met with furious resistance from Democrats and allied advocacy groups.
“It would be outrageous to go back on their purported principles,” said Daniel Goldberg, legal director of the Alliance for Justice Action Campaign, a liberal advocacy group.
“It was not just keeping Merrick Garland off the bench, it was keeping a highly regarded, eminently qualified jurist who enjoyed broad bipartisan support, who was recommended by Orrin Hatch, off the bench,” he said.
Grassley, who now serves as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said he’s inclined to follow the same course Republicans adopted in the last presidential election.
The Iowa senator said he doesn’t like to speculate about the health of specific Supreme Court justices. “In the abstract,” he emphasized, “I would do the same thing in 2020 that I would in 2016.”
But Grassley said the decision is up to current Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Graham, who is up for reelection in November, says whether he would move to fill a Supreme Court vacancy this year would depend on the opinions of GOP colleagues.
“We’ve got to see where the market is, what other senators think,” he said.
Graham said he’d be “willing” to fill a vacancy, but cautioned: “I’d like to get input from my colleagues.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) says it would be a “double standard” to fill a Supreme Court vacancy before 2021 & “would not support it.”
— Alex Bolton (@alexanderbolton) August 3, 2020