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McConnell: Senate Will Vote on Trump's SCOTUS Nominee

Senate majority leader explains why in a Friday night statement
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2020 10:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Mitch McConnell wasted no time in making clear that the nominee President Trump selects to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg "will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate." In a Friday night statement that acknowledged Ginsburg's "extraordinary American life," McConnell laid out his justification for the move—and why this situation is in his view different than that of President Obama's March 2016 nomination of Merrick Garland to replace the late Antonin Scalia. The Senate under McConnell refused to vote on the nomination due to the looming election. McConnell expressed that the difference this time around is that the GOP controls both the White House and Senate, while in 2016 Democrats controlled only the White House. More:

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  • McConnell said in his statement, "Since the 1880s, no Senate has confirmed an opposite-party president’s Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. By contrast, Americans reelected our majority in 2016 and expanded it in 2018 because we pledged to work with President Trump and support his agenda, particularly his outstanding appointments to the federal judiciary.”
  • The last time a Supreme Court justice was confirmed in an election year was 1940. The latest election year nomination and confirmation occurred in 1916 under President Woodrow Wilson, who nominated John Clarke on July 14. He was confirmed 10 days later.
  • Fox News notes there are 45 days until Election Day; 57 days elapsed between Justice Brett Kavanaugh's nomination and his confirmation hearing. ABC News reports the average nomination-to-Senate-vote time is 69.6 days.
  • The AP reports that in an interview just hours before news of Ginsburg's death broke, moderate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said she "would not vote to confirm" prior to the inauguration. Other Republican senators, including Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and Charles Grassley, have previously said much the same, but "it was not certain whether they would hold to that stance," reports the New York Times.
  • The GOP holds 53 seats, and McConnell will need a simple majority to push through the nominee. The Times notes this: "Rules changes in the Senate since 2013 have left control of judicial nominees entirely in the hands of the majority if they can hold their forces together."
(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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