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Trump wants to move ‘without delay’ to replace Ginsburg, setting up epic Supreme Court fight before election

  • September 19, 2020

“Senator McConnell made his position clear in 2016 when he held Justice Scalia’s seat vacant for 10 months so he could deny President Obama an appointment – a goal he himself admitted,” Feinstein said in a statement. “To jam through a lifetime appointment to the country’s highest court – particularly to replace an icon like Justice Ginsburg – would be the height of hypocrisy.”

Schumer laid out the stakes to Senate Democrats on a conference call Saturday, suggesting they could take controversial moves to end the filibuster and pack the court if Trump’s nominee is seated and they sweep the election. 

“Everything Americans value is at stake. Health care, protections for pre-existing conditions, women’s rights, gay rights, workers’ rights, labor rights, voting rights, civil rights, climate change and so much else is at risk,” Schumer said, according to a source on the call.  

“Let me be clear: if Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year,” Schumer said. “Nothing is off the table.”

McConnell urged Senate Republicans on Friday night to “be cautious and keep your powder dry,” according to the letter obtained by NBC News.

“Over the coming days, we are all going to come under tremendous pressure from the press to announce how we will handle the coming nomination. For those of you who are unsure how to answer, or for those inclined to oppose giving a nominee a vote, I urge you all to keep your powder dry,” McConnell wrote. “This is not the time to prematurely lock yourselves into a position you may later regret.” 

Attention is now directed at some of the more moderate Senate Republicans who could potentially oppose a nomination. Members who could possibly defect include Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah. Collins said Saturday she opposes voting on a new justice before the election. 

“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,” Collins said.

“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,” she said. 

People are also eyeing a key special Senate race in Arizona between Democrat Mark Kelly and Republican Senator Martha McSally, since Kelly could potentially be sworn into office early enough to vote on the nominee, thus narrowing the GOP’s current 53-to-47 majority. A recent poll by Monmouth University showed Kelly with a lead of 50-46% among likely voters and a New York Times/Sienna College poll showed Kelly leading 50-42%. 

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